Change Our Bad Behaviors to Good

What bad behavior might all students want to change for the better? Time spent studying! That’s unless we’re already maximizing our study time.  Either way, here is a model to change our bad behaviors to good.  It’s a model that looks at changing behaviors by altering either triggers or consequences.  In this example, we’ll look at how to increase study time.

So, let’s first look at the desired behavior: increased time studying.  Next, figure out what presently triggers us to study.  For me, it’s the time after I shower in the morning until I start work.  It’s also during a random break in the workday.  It’s also in the evening after I exercise and complete work if there is still time.  And it’s Sundays after I exercise.  Those are the times I study.

But I need more than these triggers to ensure I also study for an exam that leads to a professional designation.  So, we can always alter or add new triggers to motivate us to study more.  My new trigger will be to spend 15 minutes studying for the designation at 5 pm every weekday.  Another new trigger is to study two half-hour stints on Saturdays: one after I edit these articles and the other before bedtime.

But sometimes, altering triggers is not enough.  In that case, we need to add positive consequences.  The current consequences I gain from studying a course but not my professional designation is that I have more time to work, exercise, and clean.  However, a negative consequence is that I will miss the cut-off date to take the professional designation exam.

So, we want to study more than we currently do.  If so, we can add more positive consequences and then indicate the action we’ll take to realize each consequence.  One consequence I want to add is that I’d be able to make more income by studying enough to pass the professional designation exam.  The action I’d take to validate this consequence is to search to determine the salaries for careers that require this designation.

The second positive consequence I’d add is that passing the designation exam would set me up to be a leader in sales and marketing.  The action I would take to realize this consequence would be to create courses for sale to accredited educational institutions.  These courses I’d build would also count for professional development hours needed to keep the designation.

We must add positive consequences to make our desired behaviors more appealing.  Or we can change the trigger that activates our desired behavior.  Or, ideally, do both.

So, what habit would we like to improve next? Do more cleaning? Do more exercise? Be more positive? Make more money? Take more courses? Write more books? Whatever we want to achieve, there is a system for realizing it!