Creating a Behavior Management Plan: Steps & Behavioral Changes

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  • 0:36 Step 1: Monitor & Record
  • 1:41 Step 2: Analyze & Identify
  • 2:11 Step 3: Setting Goals
  • 4:10 Step 4: A Plan of Action
  • 6:24 Step 5: Make Contacts
  • 6:55 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson will outline the steps you need to take if you'd like to make a positive, health-related change in your life. You'll learn about keeping a journal and how to set SMART goals for yourself.

A Plan of Action

In the world of business, a person starting a company may set out to form a business plan. This is usually quite a lengthy document that details company goals, competitors, potential problems and their solutions, and what the financial rewards of the business will be. This same type of idea, a plan, and many of its parts can be applied to forming a personal plan of behavioral management. Except, it doesn't have to be nearly as long or as boring as a business plan. This lesson will outline for you what steps you need to take to make a positive change in your life.

Step 1: Monitor & Record

First, take out a journal that is specific to this task. Don't mix it in with your diary where you can't find anything you write down. If you don't like writing things down, then you can form a digital journal on your computer. Let's pretend your goal is to eat healthier and exercise more to lose weight. In this journal, you should write down specifics of what your daily activities are for about one or two weeks. Write down:

  • The name of the activity or task you performed.
  • What exactly you were doing in that activity.
  • The time at which you performed this activity.
  • Where you did this.
  • How you felt at the time.

For instance, you can write about the fact that you ate breakfast at 8:00 in the morning, that it was a PB&J sandwich in your dorm room, and that your mind was really stressing out about an upcoming quiz later that day as you were eating, and that's why you were simultaneously reviewing your study notes. You can be even more specific by writing down calorie counts, if anyone was with you, if someone influenced your choice of activity, and why you did that activity. The more detailed, the better it is for tracking purposes.

Step 2: Analyze & Identify

After you have completed collecting detailed data about your daily habits, it's time to figure out if you see any particular patterns emerging. For example, when did you consume the most calories? Was it right before a test because you were stressed? Or maybe it was right after a test as you and friends went out to eat at a restaurant. It's important to analyze what you ate, when you ate it, and why you ate it. Identifying what triggered that event is just as important as the event itself in behavioral modification.

Step 3: Setting Goals

Once you have identified potential patterns that may need to be changed or unhealthy choices that need to be modified, it's important to set goals to improve your well-being. It's important that you are 'SMART' about doing this. For instance, if you have arthritis in both knees and are looking to lose weight, then telling yourself your goal is going to be to run ten miles in 30 minutes may not be the best goal to set from the get-go. Let's examine how goals should be set to breed success by being 'SMART.'

  • 'S' stands for Specific: Be particular about what goals you are seeking to attain. A vague goal is to say something like: 'I'm going to eat more vegetables.' A more specific goal would be: 'I'm going eat carrots, tomatoes, and broccoli, one cup of each every day.'
  • 'M' stands for Measurable: Make sure you can quantify your goals so you can easily track them! For example, 'I will walk for one mile every other day of the week.'
  • 'A' stands for Attainable: You need to ensure that the goals you set are within reach of your physical capabilities. Going back to my previous example, if you have arthritis in your leg joints, then maybe walking or running isn't the best option. Perhaps pool exercise, which is easier on the joints, is something more attainable.
  • 'R' stands for Realistic: Be careful about setting your expectations. Even if you can run or walk just fine, I think that, for most of us, running a marathon each and every single day is not a realistic goal. Develop a more gradual approach for your ultimate goal. This brings me to the final point.
  • 'T' for Time Frame: Make sure that you give yourself enough time to reach your goal. Even if your goal is to run a marathon in the end of all ends, you need to be realistic if it can be achieved in one year or maybe even more.

Step 4: A Plan of Action

Once you have kept your journal, identified problems, and set SMART goals, it's time to devise a plan of action to meet those goals. The first thing you need to do is get what it is that you need. Running shoes? Swimming gear? A local community health group that will help you? Get out there and get it! The longer you wait, the more likely you are to put off your goals forever.

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