Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Rewards and reinforcements.

Being exceptionally tired tonight, I will quick post a few thoughts/notes from my behavioral counseling class tonight, and call it a day..

The primary subject tonight was about reinforcements again, the consequences of the antecedent, behavior, consequence sequence. In the context of changing (eliminating or adding) a self behavior (but it works to encourage other people too), one of the things we have to remember is to reward ourselves frequently on an immediate, continuous basis for the little progress/goals towards the new behavior. If the goal/behavior is a large one or complex, then every time we succeed at parts of it, we deserve a reward. If it is a simple new task to add, then each time we do the new behavior we give ourselves a reward.

There are several reasons for this, but one thing was emphasized and struck me as something I don't do often enough for myself- I get locked in a routine that is all work and no immediate rewards. That might work for a while as long as one keeps the end goal in mind, but enough time spent that way and life goes flat- and while we may keep working, there really isn't any reinforcement in the now for continuing.

Rewards/Reinforcements are individual, and they don't have to be huge things. I don't find enough time (none since the end of summer) for reading fiction and I have a love of reading that goes back to my childhood. I can get lost in a book and be completely absorbed and transported. For me an hour or two spent reading fiction would be a reward. In a similar vein, I like sunsets. Simply remembering to go out and watch the sunset in silence and feel the wind on my face is a reward. Another of mine is stopping at the florist to purchase a single flower. I am sure you have your own.

More on this later as my brain is pretty fogged. Not enough sleep, days that are too long and no immediate rewards, makes Stormwind very subdued.

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