Psychological Self-Help

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easy to remember to make these changes. You have to control your
thoughts to improve your actions. 
There is an area of experimental research that deals with
"prospective remembering," i.e. the ability to remember to do
previously formed intentions (like New Year's resolutions!). Much more
practical research needs to be done but here are some of the tentative
conclusions (Arbuthnott & Arbuthnott, 1999). Of course, it is great if
you are an organized person who keeps a daily appointment book and
schedules specific self-help actions at specific times and places during
the day. But, some of us aren't that organized; besides, many desired
behaviors just can't be scheduled in advance because you want these
responses to occur in unexpected situations, such as when you get a
compliment, when someone is inattentive to you or pushy, when your
boss or spouse is critical, when you are tempted to have a candy bar,
and so on. What can you do to remember in those situations? 
It has been shown that daily mental rehearsal, perhaps as you are
brushing your teeth or putting on make up, of what you want to do
when specific circumstances arise is very helpful. Also, the kind of cue
we select to signal to ourselves that the situation is right for a desired,
planned reaction is important; good cues include a meaningful, maybe
emotional, event or situation that is specific and easy to notice or
unusual (to catch your attention). Example: when someone mentions
As another example, Arbuthnott & Arbuthnott (1999) described a way
to make the time-to-act cue more distinctive and effective: a man
reduce his fear in several situations. They asked their patient to
imagine being frightened by a wild animal (he chose a dragon)
whenever he felt afraid, then he learned to associate the image of a
dragon with these relaxation techniques. This helped him remember
what to do when he got anxious. Self-control often requires
remembering many things to do, both to do in action and in your
mind, so you may need to learn some methods to boost your memory. 
There is an old military saying: "A poor plan well executed is better
than a good plan poorly executed." Once you have developed your
general plan, it is important to carry out a plan that you consider
important with vigor. Learn to use the selected self-help methods,
then remember to apply the methods. Make your self-help efforts part
of your daily schedule. Remember, as discussed in step 2, to record
your efforts to change! Your self-change actions need to be compared
to your subsequent level of adjustment--are your efforts producing
results? Try to get "high" about making major self-improvements. Get
determined! Optimism and enthusiasm help. Reward and value your
efforts highly. 
Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.
-Reggie Leach
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