some other steps. This is because sometimes, the desired change is
very easy to make, as though it is just waiting for an excuse to
change. Most of the time, however, it is hard to change, forcing you to
pay attention to all ten steps. At least, you should know how to carry
out all of the possible steps, in case they are needed:
Step 1: Select self-improvement projects, no more than 2 or 3 at a
____ see problem checklist in this chapter (Table 2.1).
____ if you aren't sure you want to change or keep postponing
making changes (see Table 2.2).
____ ask yourself: could this problem be physically caused? If
so, see a physician.
____ if you have a very serious problem, such as suicidal
thoughts or difficulty thinking well enough to make any plans,
please seek professional help (see the warnings below).
Step 2: Start collecting and recording data reflecting the severity
or frequency of the problem.
____ estimate and record frequency for 1 to 2 weeks prior to
starting a daily record.
____ record information each day that will indicate changes
you are making.
____ keep a diary of your thoughts and feelings as well as
Step 3: Try to understand the problem, how it developed, its
original causes, and what causes it to continue.
____ analyze your problem into five parts. Use Tables 2.1 and
2.3 (in step 5). Look for the origin and influence of each part.
____ what causes your problem? the history? under what
conditions does the problem occur? Any payoffs?
____ see chapters 3-10 and other readings for frequent causes
____ biology and environment as causes. Motivation to
change: do you understand why you want to change? or why
you are reluctant to change? What seem to be the barriers to
Step 4: Set realistic goals.
____ be specific: exactly what behavior, emotions, skills,
attitudes, or awareness do you want to change? What do you
want to eliminate? What to increase?
____ change in small easy steps if rapid or radical change
("cold turkey") is impossible.
____ summary of goals--outcome, time, method. Are these
goals important, fair, and in keeping with your values and long-
range aspirations? (see chapter 3).