1. The first 5 days of the project will require you to track your behavior. This should provide you with two important types of information. First, you will gain an idea of how often you engage in the behavior. Second, you should take note of any associations that you have made between stimuli present in the environment and the occurrence of the behavior you wish to change: a. Are you more likely to engage in the behavior in certain locations, or after certain stressful experiences in your life (e.g., argument with friends, family, or co-workers)? b. Are there certain emotions that cause you to engage in the behavior, or other emotions that often occur when you don’t engage in the behavior? Record your data in a table format, recording how often you perform the behavior and what situational factors are present. Break your data sheets into regular periods (e.g., every hour or every 30 minutes or every class period), and keep the periods of time the same for each day of the week you are recording data. You will find it easier to use short intervals of time, rather than recording several hours in one interval.
2. The next 4 days of the project, will require you to use reinforcement (rewards) or punishment to change the behavior. Reward yourself with check marks: 30 minutes or 1 hour of engaging in the new behavior might be enough for you to earn a check mark. Collect check marks for rewards. For example, if you can go for 30 minutes without biting your nails, give yourself a check mark. If you can collect 10 check marks, reward yourself again (e.g., watch your favorite television show, play a favorite game, etc.). If you do not collect 10 check marks, use punishment (e.g., do a chore you dislike, do not watch your favorite show). Alternately, you may want to collect check marks toward a “day off” from controlling your behavior (do not pick one of the data collection days as a day off!).
3. The project takes 9 days to complete. Choose your behavior carefully. It will be much harder for you to present your findings if you choose a behavior you rarely perform. Think of some unwanted behavior that you perform several times a day, not just occasionally (e.g.,