BREAKING BEHAVIOR CHAINS
Use the records you collected about your target behavior in Activity 3 and in your health journal to identify what leads up to your target behavior and what follows it. By tracing these chains of events, you’ll be able to identify points in the chain where you can make a change that will lead to your new behavior. The sample behavior chain on the next page shows a sequence of events for a person who wants to add exercise to her daily routine but who winds up snacking and watching TV instead. By examining the chain carefully, you can identify ways to break it at every step. After you review the sample, go through the same process for a typical chain of events involving your target behavior. Use the blank behavior chain on the following page.
BREAKING BEHAVIOR CHAINS Photo Gallery
Some general strategies for breaking behavior chains include the following:
• Control or eliminate environmental cues that provoke the behavior. Stay out of the room where your television is located. Go out for an ice cream cone instead of keeping a half gallon of ice cream in your freezer.
• Change behaviors or habits that are linked to your target behavior. If you always smoke in your car when you drive to school, try taking public transportation instead.
• Add new cues to your environment to trigger your new behavior. Prepare easy-to-grab healthy snacks and carry them with you to class or work. Keep your exercise clothes and equipment in a visible location.
Describe in detail any special strategies you will use to help change your behavior (refer to Activity 7).
Create a plan for any charts, graphs, or journals you will use to monitor your progress. The log format you developed in Activity 3 may be appropriate, or you may need to develop a more detailed or specific record-keeping system. Examples of journal formats are included in Labs 3.2, 4.3, 5.2, 8.1, and 10.1. You might also want to develop a graph to show your progress; posting such a graph in a prominent location can help keep your motivation strong and your program on track. Depending on your target behavior, you could graph the number of push-ups you can do, the number of servings of vegetables you eat each day, or your average daily stress level.
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