• Robin Williams, MS, BCBA

Making Behavior Change S.I.M.P.L.E. - Tip 4

Updated: Feb 3

It's time for tip 4! We have been discussing my 6 simple tips for behavior change in 2020 and so far we have discussed how to:

START with the vision: Writing goals down increases the likelihood that you will achieve them by 33%!

IMPLEMENT with integrity and MEASURE your progress: Self-accountability is an amazing behavioral intervention that includes these two components. This strategy has been proven to guide and even promote positive behavior change.

The fourth tip is to.....get ready for it....

PLAN FOR FAILURE.

Yep....I said it.

A few years ago a read in a psychology magazine about a new technique called "implementation intentions" and it's relationship to attaining the goals you set. It never ceases to amaze me how many new fancy terminologies, phrases and "techniques" are found in the fields of education and psychology that are rooted in the science of Applied Behavior Analysis. I like to think of an implementation intention as "the what if plan". It's you actually thinking about what you will do when your initial plan to reach your goal is NOT WORKING. It's determining what it will take for you to quit....or what you would do if you fail. Research shows that if individuals actually identify what it will take for them stop working towards a goal, to actually specify what their "failure" criteria will be, they are more likely to NOT QUIT PREMATURELY.

In Applied Behavior Analytic terms this makes me think of establishing behavioral contingencies. A behavioral contingency is the relationship between a behavior and the consequences of that behavior. Behavioral contingencies can be stated in If-Then terms or When-Then terms.

With regards to your 2020 goals this strategy may look/or sound like:

Goal: Be healthy in the new year.

Implementation Intention: If I miss the gym today, then I will eat only 1300 calories instead of 2000 calories.

Goal: Develop my business plan within 3 months:

Implementation Intention: If I don't spend at least 60 minutes per day doing some intentional business planning, then I will be sure to add any minutes I did not spend to the next day's planning.

Goal: Save money for vacation.

Implementation Intention: When I purchase anything, I will always round my totals up to the next $5 increment, then I will save the difference.

Creating implementation intentions helps you to visual the process of getting to your goal, including identifying any potential barriers and how you will overcome or respond to them.

So....GET TO PLANNING THE PROCESS and while you are at it...PLAN FOR FAILURE.

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