Thursday, October 15, 2009

Operant Conditioning

Operant Conditioning – the use of consequences to modify the occurrence and form of behavior

Positive Reinforcement – when a behavior (i.e., losing 5lb.) is followed by a favorable stimulus (i.e., a small reward) that increases the frequency of that behavior.

It has been proven that setting small intermediate goals for yourself (no matter what the ultimate goal may be) helps significantly in the success of meeting that goal. I have made the mistake of not doing this in the past, and it made the goal seem daunting and impossible to achieve. So I always gave up early.

This time, not only do I plan on setting small goals for myself, but I am going to use the operant conditioning principles of
B.F. Skinner to help achieve them. I have set concrete goals with definite timelines and specific rewards. I decided that I wanted each goal to stand alone, meaning that if I fail to meet the first one, I don’t have to work twice as hard to reach the second one. Otherwise, I may snowball my way into feeling overwhelmed again, defeating the purpose of these stepping stones completely! So here they are… make sure to hold me to them!

My intermediate goals and their corresponding rewards:

  • Between now and my birthday (November 7th), if I lose 5 lb, I am treating myself to 15 music downloads! I can put them on my mp3 player to work out with and make a new mixed cd too!

  • Between my birthday and Thanksgiving (November 26th), if I succeed in losing 5 lb (regardless of whether or not I met the first goal), I can splurge on a new outfit for the cruise!

  • If I lose 8 lb between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I am allowed to buy some fun new makeup!

  • And finally, if I lose 4 lb between Christmas and our “Sail Date” (January 10th), I can reward myself with a pedicure on the ship!

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