to your anger. Over several weeks, this information may help you
understand the real causes and dynamics of your anger. Besides,
diaries are fascinating months or years later.
At this point, you are primarily trying to measure your level of
adjustment--how well you are doing. Over time, these measures will
show if you are making progress or not. In addition to frequently
(maybe several times a day) measuring your current status, after you
have decided on a "self-treatment" plan in steps 5 and 6, you will
probably need to record exactly when and how you apply the
self-help method. Example: if you are making and recording efforts
every hour to replace negative, critical thoughts with positive ones,
you will need to rate your level of depression or happiness/optimism
every 3 or 4 hours, at least. The relationships between your efforts to
change and the actual changes that occur are, of course, at the heart
of evaluating your treatment plan. Don't leave that judgment up to
intuition or guess work, measure the connection! This will be
discussed further in step 7. If you are interested in more sophisticated
research using repeated measures in a "daily process," refer to Affleck,
et al (1999), Korotitsch and Nelson-Grey (1999), and Schwartz and
Stone (1998). Self-help projects are ideally suited for this kind of
practical single-subject research.
Progress and goals are different things
When assessing your progress, you are looking backwards to see
how much you have changed over a certain time. However, when
setting goals, as discussed in Step 4, you are looking forward to the
changes you hope to make. Some people set very high goals, resulting
in their feeling discouraged that they are so very far from where they
want to be. Demanding goals can be and should be inspiring. So don't
let ambitious distant goals cloud your perception of how far you have
come. Measure it.
Try to Understand the Problem
Try to understand the problem: what are the five parts?
how do the parts relate to each other? how did the
problem and its parts get started? why have they
continued? What are the reasons for changing?
Most of us would like to understand "what makes us tick," even if
that understanding doesn't help us change. It is like climbing a
mountain; we want to explore our inner self because it is there--a
great mystery that intrigues us. Self-exploration is an important life-