Psychological Self-Help

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To strengthen the tendency of a desirable habit (or thought or feeling) to
occur again in the future. 
To create a new and better response by (a) shaping, i.e. rewarding some
behavior that approximates the desired behavior (keep rewarding
changes in the desired direction until the desired behavior occurs), or (b)
rewarding a substitute behavior, e.g. if one has a whiny, pessimistic
roommate, one could reward pleasant, optimistic comments. 
To reinforce the reduction of an unwanted response (cutting down a bad
To sweeten up an unpleasant but necessary task (the usual employment
To make up for the loss of harmful pleasures, e.g. pride in your looks can
make up for giving up rich delicious food, fun times with an athletic team
can make up for fun times with drug-using friends, etc. 
To discover and increase intrinsic satisfaction: (1) to initiate an activity
that you may discover to be naturally satisfying or (2) to associate a
reward with a task, e.g. studying, so that the task becomes more
pleasurable (see method #15). 
STEP ONE: Identify the desired behavior in very specific terms;
Set subgoals (daily, weekly, and monthly) as well as final
First of all, it is hard to improve oneself if one doesn't know exactly
what to do...and when and where to do it. So, one has to convert
vague goals, like "I want to get organized" or "I want to be more
loving" or "I wish I had less of a temper," into specific desired
behaviors, like make up a daily schedule, talk and do fun things
together 30 minutes every day, and try specific methods from chapter
7 for reducing my anger. 
Since positive reinforcers are supposed to primarily strengthen the
responses given during the previous few seconds or, at most, minutes
(unless the situation is recreated in one's mind), therefore, the to-be-
rewarded response must be brief, easily identified, and very clearly
associated in your mind with the payoff. Otherwise, how will you know
when to give the reward at the right moment? 
Likewise, since you expect gradual improvement in your behavior,
you need to set realistic daily, weekly, and monthly subgoals which will
be reinforced as soon as they occur. Examples: For the first week of
jogging, you might decide to jog 1/2 a mile every day. For the second
week, 3/4's of a mile daily. For the third week, a mile a day. The
rewards should be given right after running. If you want to be more
assertive, the behavior needs to be developed gradually, just like
jogging. So, set subgoals and final goals, which will be used in the
contract in step 3. 
Also, since the environment determines much of our behavior, it
may be helpful to specifically prescribe the situation in which the
desired behavior will occur. Watson and Tharp (1972) suggest
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