To understand what in the environment is causing a behavior or
emotion or interpersonal interaction. (If nothing external, look
inside for thoughts, memories, feelings or physiological
To use this knowledge to figure out how to change the behavior
or to determine why a self-help effort isn't working.
STEP ONE: Remember the circumstances preceding the behavior
or emotion or interaction.
Think back and remember as much as possible about what
happens right before the "target" behavior:
time and physical setting, any environmental cues that set you
your actions, thoughts (self-talk), and feelings--
any defeatist ideas, e.g. "I'll never get better," "I can't change,"
"I'm just that way"--
others' behavior and feelings (including believing they think you
are stupid, etc.)--
nature of interaction with others--
are there any signs of possible consequences (+ or -) that
influence your behavior?
your physical condition (tired, hyper, drunk, etc.)--
your use of or lack of skills--
+ or - expectations or values--
is this situation similar to a situation or person you have had
experience with before?
List the stimuli that seem to occur right before the behavior in
question. In this method, you can concentrate on the antecedents of
desired or unwanted behaviors, feelings, or interpersonal interactions.
STEP TWO: Think about the possible + or - consequences
following your behavior or emotion or interaction.
It will also be helpful to consider the payoffs for both the unwanted
and the desired behavior, perhaps comparing the two. If you are
dealing with a bad habit, you may feel "I don't get anything positive
out of the habit." Don't believe it; get started carefully observing the
results of your habit. The positive pay offs outweigh the negative
consequences. Each habit has its own unique set of positive and
negative consequences. It is important to consider many possible
consequences to uncover them all:
desired pay offs--consider both extrinsic rewards (material,
interpersonal, or symbolic of success) and intrinsic satisfaction
(enjoyable feelings, relief, and self-esteem), both in the
immediate and long range future. Often performing a well-