Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Tuesday, June 2, 2020 01:05:50 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Changing Behavior

photo by

  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Save
  • E-mail
  • Print
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Marty Nemko :
The following distills what most often helps my clients effect behavior change. While I frame it as what I do as a counselor, much of it should be useful in self help.
Build on one's genetics and upbringing
We're learning that ever more of our behavior is affected not only by our upbringing but by our genetics, from intelligence to behavioral flexibility, from self-control to political leaning. So my clients have made more progress when we attempt to remediate only the most essential weaknesses, for example, a tendency toward sloth.
Otherwise, we usually focus on developing goals and objectives that build on strengths and skirt rather than remediate weaknesses. For instance, let's say a person tends to get angry. Sure, I'll encourage the person to use tactics to reduce anger's effects, for example, when starting to feel anger, take a slow deep breath, remember the price that anger imposes, and maybe "go to the bathroom" to calm down. But we usually focus on identifying work, environments, and people that are less likely to trigger anger.
Aim to change behavior, not attitude
It's usually easier to effect behavior change than attitude change. Indeed, behavior change usually precedes attitude change. So, once clients have identified a desired change, for example, to be calmer or more assertive, I often ask them to imagine a movie in which the main character behaves that way and to describe the character's behavior during a typical day. Then I'll invite the client to, between sessions, pretend s/he's a person who behaves that way.
That approach is exemplified, perhaps surprisingly, in a song from the classic Broadway musical, The King and I:
I whistle a happy tune,
And every single time
The happiness in that tune
Convinces me that I'm
Not afraid.
Make believe you're brave
And the trick will take you far;
You may be as brave
As you make believe you are
Try here-and-now first
Usually, here-and-now is my go-to approach. In that, I help the client:
1.    Identify the desired change.
2.    Break it into baby steps.
3.    If it's a discrete task, for example, working on landing a job, I'll ask if s/he'd like to set a timer to do the task, for example, 9 AM Saturday, working for 20 minutes and 5 minutes off, 20 more minutes and 5 off, 20 more and ten off.
4.    Decide if it would help to give him or herself a reward for getting it done or a punishment for not. If so, I ask the client to select it.
5.    Identify blocks. I'll often ask the client if s/he thinks it would help to log feelings at each "moment of truth" when s/he wants to start the task as well as when s/he gets stuck.
6.    Troubleshoot. If an attempt to change behavior fails, in the next session, we figure out whether the change was too difficult, is the wrong change, the result of a tendency to procrastinate, etc. We use that information to revise the plan.
Use a cognitive-behavioral approach as backup
If here-and-now doesn't work well enough, I often try a cognitive-behavioral approach to help the client determine if an irrational fear is impeding the behavior change. If so, it's usually fear of failure, rejection, or embarrassment, perhaps caused or exacerbated by earlier trauma. My version of a cognitive-behavioral approach usually has four steps:
1.    To identify the person's psychological barrier, I'll typically ask a question like, "Pretend you're about to do the task and are feeling resistant. What's going through your head and heart?"
2.    I typically ask the client, "What would your wiser twin tell you to do in response to that?"
3.    If the "wiser twin" doesn't come up with anything the client feels has a good chance of working, I'll offer a suggestion and ask whether the client believes that would work.
4.    As with the here-and-now approach, if the client's attempt to change is inadequate, we troubleshoot.
Clients should fly solo as soon as possible. That's because whatever help a professional provides is diminished not only by sessions' cost and time but because using a counselor is disempowering, making the client feel s/he lacks sufficient self-efficacy. So when I sense a client would do well on his/her own, I ask if s/he'd like another session, to proceed solo, or with the help of a friend or loved one. If s/he chooses the solo or friend option, I reassure the client that if needed, s/he's welcome to schedule another appointment with me.
Discourage victimization. If a client wants to make activism about racism, sexism, elitism, homophobia, ageism, lookism, or trauma part of his or her life, fine. But if my client's goal is to improve their work or personal life, it's rarely helpful to focus on such externalities but rather to develop and implement baby steps toward improving their lives.
The takeaway
As always, no model fits all, but do you think the aforementioned, a variant thereof, or even one of its components are worth a try?
(Marty Nemko, Ph.D., is a career and personal coach based in Oakland, California, and the author of 10 books).

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Inadequate Covid testing facilities may deteriorate the pandemic situation

THE overwhelming demand for Covid-19 tests has rendered the designated private facilities also unable to offer the tests to test seekers. Now 50 labs, including 17 private ones, are doing the Covid-19 RT-PCR tests after the number of government-run facilities was found inadequate to handle the pressure of the test ...

Football »

Sancho nets hat-trick, joins US killing protest as Dortmund cruise

England winger Jadon Sancho scored a hat-trick and revealed a "Justice for George Floyd" protest message in Borussia Dortmund's 6-1 rout of bottom side Paderborn on Sunday that trimmed Bayern Munich's lead at the top of the Bundesliga to seven points.The outstanding Sancho, who now has 17 goals and 17 ...

Cricket »

Sabbir denies allegation of harassing RCC cleaner

National discard cricketer Sabbir Rahman denied the allegation of harassing a cleaner of Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) physically as the news spread around social media outlets.Sabbir who earlier was banned a couple of times for his off the field misbehave, admitted, he had some verbal spat with the cleaner, something ...

Entertainment »

Rishabh Tiwari releases new song Duniyadari

Rishabh Tiwari is one of the brightest rising stars of the music industry today. The young singer, who has earlier delivered a couple of popular songs in the past, is back to regale the listeners with a new song titled Duniyadari. Talking about his new track, he says, “Presently, there ...

Entertainment »

Mim launches her YouTube channel

 Entertainment Report :National Film Award winner actress Bidya Sinha Saha Mim had intention to launch her own YouTube channel many days ago. Due to her hectic working schedules she couldn’t launch the channel. At last, during the corona time she got the opportunity to launch her YouTube channel titled ‘Bidya ...

Health »

From the plague to MERS: A brief history of pandemics

Alia Chughtai :On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new coronavirus - which was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year - a pandemic.As of May 31, there were more than 6.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to data collected by Johns ...

Editorial »

Increasing transport fare cannot be justified while people are struggling hard

AMID rising infection and death due to Covid-19, the government mindlessly eased the clampdown in excuse of protecting the corruption-riddled economy, though millions of dollars poured for social safety net support went into the account of local political goons. A sharp contrast has been seen when the government opts to ...

Business & Economy »

Industrialist Abdul Monem Khan passes away

Business Desk :Renowned industrialist and founder of Abdul Monem Group Abdul Monem Khan passed away at a city hospital on Sunday. He was 85.Sources said, he breathed his last at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH), Dhaka at around 10am.Monem left behind his wife, two sons, three daughters and a host ...

Cricket »

Daniel Vettori donates portion of salary for BCB's low-income staff

Former New Zealand captain and current Bangladesh spin bowling coach Daniel Vettori has asked the Bangladesh Cricket Board to give a part of his salary to low-income staffers to deal with the financial hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic.Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) CEO Nizamuddin Chowdhury said Vettori has officially communicated ...

City »

The President of

Editorial »

Not only Libya, but many other countries also treat our migrant workers brutally

MEDIA reports on Saturday said Bangladesh government has sought justice from the internationally recognized Libyan government for the killing of 26 Bangladeshi nationals and the infliction of fatal injuries to 11 more in an incident in which a group of unruly militias opened fire on them in a desert. They ...

Cricket »

Ashraful becomes father of a baby boy

Sports Reporter :Former national cricketer Mohammad Ashraful became father of a baby boy on Friday last. It is his second baby. Earlier, Mohammad Ashraful became father in 2016. She is a baby girl. Her name is Ariba Tasneem Ashraful. Mohammad Ashraful gave a status on his Facebook on Friday. He ...

City »

Secretary General of BNP Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir along with party colleagues placing floral wreath at the Mazar of the Founder of BNP and former President Ziaur Rahman in the city on Saturday marking martyrdom anniversary of the latter.

Back Page »

DHAKA`S NATURE IS THRIVING: The air quality of the capital city has improved tremendously due to lack of vehicular movement amid the ongoing coronavirus lockdown. The lush greenery spread over the city with trees planted on road dividers look like a green carpet. This photo was taken from new Jurain Road on Thursday.

Editorial »

Economic challenges of corona aftermath can only be met by knowledge and competence

ACCORDING to the International Labour Organization (ILO) job prospects for the youth have been vastly reduced in Bangladesh. For youths to be provided paths for a positive future, education and skills training are essential. Young women workers -- who were already struggling in low-paid and informal sector jobs -- are ...

Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news