Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 60 of 86 
Next page End Contents 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65  

hard enough to get into medical or law or graduate school, or avoiding
dealing with shyness which eventually prevents dating, marriage and
When one neglects unpleasant but needed immediate tasks, one
should schedule frequently and reward heavily the goal-directed
behaviors. At the same time, one can also focus on learning to enjoy
the behaviors that leads to your long-term goals, e.g. study or work in
ways you enjoy, use your new knowledge, take pride in doing well. 
In summary, there are various ways of increasing the probability of
good outcomes--avoid temptations, make it easy to do the right thing,
practice the desired behavior until it becomes a habit, repeatedly
remind yourself of the good and bad consequences of your behavior,
give yourself inspirational pep talks, carefully observe and actually
record your behavior, and feel proud and get support from friends,
coworkers, relatives, or whomever you can. The other behavioral
methods of self-control in this chapter will help you make these
You need to be aware of the complexity of behaviors. You need to
know yourself and what reinforcements have you under control. Are
you a slave to strong habits? Do you give due weight to future
outcomes or do you pretty much live for the moment and avoid
unpleasant tasks? Do you succumb to old habits or focus on the
"goodies of the moment" and forget the more important distant goals?
Do you neglect distasteful chores, like doing a report or buying a new
battery for your old car, leading to dire consequences? These are
formulae for failure. If you overlook or minimize the probable bad
consequences of bad behavior (even though it may be fun right now)
or play down the possible good consequences of good behavior (even
though it may be hard unpleasant work), you need to learn how to
accentuate the importance of those long-term outcomes! One needs to
keep his/her eyes on the big long-range consequences (see motivation
in chapter 14). 
When we are fully aware of all the consequences of our actions
(the resulting reinforcement), we can have more self-control and more
payoffs in the long run. This isn't easy. But rewarding desirable
behavior, as now described in this method, is very important. 
Rewards can be used any time a new response--behavior, thought,
feeling, attitude, skill--is needed to overcome a problem or to be a
better person. Rewards can be used: 
To motivate you to do a desired behavior that isn't a self-sustaining
response yet. Eventually, a new behavior should yield enough natural
payoffs to sustain itself. 
To encourage you to keep trying to find a way to a goal. 
Previous page Top Next page

« Back