This I Believe

Richard - St. Charles, Illinois
Entered on August 28, 2006
Age Group: 65+

I believe in personal redemption through Positive Behavior Change! I speak of a redemption that is probably unlike the kind of religious or moral redemption you might be accustomed to thinking of. This kind of redemption comes from preventing disruptive life outcomes, or by reaching personal goals for positive life change. It involves remaking ourselves into who we want and need to be for ourselves and in relationship with others.

As in other forms of redemption the process provides a powerful spiritual lift to all who accomplish it. We are validated in the redemptive process by the sigh of relief we feel when we conquer a life problem or accomplish a life goal that has eluded us for some time.

Early in this process some sort of Behavior Analysis is needed to see how the behavior actually occurs and what its consequences are for our lives. Here are some basic principles:

Our conduct is made up of Behavior Chains in which event A leads to event B and on to event C, etc., as captured by the expression, “One thing leads to another.”

There are important events that occur Before, During and After Problem Behaviors, as in, “After I ate the whole thing, I started really feeling guilty.”

Behavior is often “Triggered” by some external or perhaps internal event, for example, “When George lit up, I really wanted to have a smoke.”

The essence of Behavior Change is finding ways to increase the Desirable Behavior while decreasing the Undesirable Behavior. That is, do more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff! A tall order you say! Yes it is, but it is done a piece at a time by taking small steps toward the larger Goal Behavior. You need to identify the specific behaviors you wish to add and subtract from your current performance:

Brake the undesirable Chain of Behavior that leads to trouble. So, the guy with a drinking problem better not go to the local bar for a sandwich!

Regulate the Behavioral Events that adversely affect you. If you find that you are about to gorge yourself, don’t eat the fattening goodie, but instead drink a lot of satisfying, diet root beer!

Identify and neutralize the particular Triggers that give you trouble. Next time George wants to light up, ask him to skip one of his smokes for your sake, or you excuse yourself and move off smartly, or pop a “flavor-burst” hard candy into your mouth, etc.

You may or may not get to Heaven by remaking yourself with Positive Behavior Change, but you know that you will be a more productive and happier person for it. You must be committed to the change process and to take all the necessary steps. If you know how behavior works, you can work it! And when you do, you will receive the personal redemption, self validation and ascendance that awaits you at the conclusion of this fulfilling journey!