Behavioral Change

Published: 2021-06-26 00:50:05
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Category: Psychology

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In my self-directed behavioral change project, I encountered a lot of difficult challenges and obstacles in reaching my ultimate goal: a better night’s sleep. My goals for this behavioral change project were to establish a proper sleep and bedtime regimen, getting a full-night’s rest and ultimately feeling more alert and energetic through the day. My main goals were to improve my sleep cycle/regimen by getting the necessary eight hours of sleep I need every night and waking up in the morning feeling fully rested and not sleepy, tired, or groggy at all.
This is what I set out to do and I recorded all the times I went to bed, times I’d fall asleep, times I’d wake up in the middle of the night, and times I’d wake up next morning. I recorded all of my observations and occurrences for two weeks and noticed some positive change in my bed-time pattern. I was able to get the necessary eight hours of sleep every night and felt a difference the next day. My behavior change didn’t come so easily for me in the beginning, nor is it still easy for me now.
I wanted to make things easier for me in doing my behavioral change, so I sat down and wrote out a list of pros and cons in doing this project. My pros included regulating my sleep, feeling more energized during the day, increasing brain activity, being well rested and alert, not having to drink too much coffee or energy drinks through the day, and not having any more headaches. With my behavior modifications, it sometimes becomes difficult maintaining my new behavior due to the fact that I don’t have a set schedule as far as school and job go.
My week is very unpredictable and I never know if I’m going to be able to get the necessary amount of sleep I want during the week. I still maintain my set bedtime at 11 and/or 11:30pm to get my proper rest. With doing so, I’m able to wake up every morning around the same time, and no matter how badly I want to go back to sleep still, I make it a habit to get out of bed so that I can have a better night’s sleep that coming night. With my behavior change, I found that when I do wake up in the early hours of the morning, say around 9 or 9:30am, and get out of bed, I have no trouble sleeping at night.
On certain days, I’m able to do so, but on others I’m not with my job and school work interfering with my nightly schedule. I try to make it a habit of going to bed at my specific bedtime because I know that if I do, then I can fall asleep quicker at night and feel refreshed in the morning. As mentioned, I had difficulty trying to reach my ultimate goal due to outside interferences and outcomes. In our textbook, Watson and Tharp discussed an entire section and chapter on antecedents and what they are. Antecedents are the cues or stimulus that causes certain behaviors to occur.
They are the triggers and/or the distractions that pull us away from our necessary behaviors to our unnecessary behaviors. My antecedents for not getting a good night’s rest before the behavioral change project were that nighttime was the only time I got to myself, that I’m a night owl, so I feel more awake and alert at night, I can’t not listen to my music at night, I wanted to catch up on my shows, everyone’s asleep and I get the TV all to myself, and I call or text my friends to talk at night because that’s when they’re home too. All of these were the triggers that kept me away from my desired behavior.
These distractions were keeping me from reaching my goal, so I set out to not let these incidences occur anymore, for the sake of my sleep. Since the behavior change, I noticed that I’m not doing all of the listed antecedents as much as I did before. I noticed that I’ve stopped staying up too late at night because I know now that if I just lay my head down on my pillow, I’d be able to fall asleep without any of my distractions keeping me up till late at night. Whatever I did at night, I try to do in the late afternoon to just get out of the way so that when 11pm comes along, I can go to bed and sleep soundly.
As mentioned, keeping and maintaining my behavior change wasn’t then and still isn’t easy for me now, because sometimes I find it difficult to fall asleep at night even at my bedtime. When this occurs, I was told that herbal tea would help me with my sleep. I thought of this as a good added behavior for me from time to time drinking herbal tea to help me fall asleep better at night. I tried it and it does work for me. I don’t, however, drink herbal tea every night, just those nights that I don’t feel as tired just to help me be more calm and fall asleep better.
I also made a habit not to take any cat-naps in the afternoon when I’m really sleepy because that will make it even more difficult for me to fall asleep at bedtime. If I save it for night, I can fall asleep faster and better. Waking up in the morning fully rested and not sleepy at all was also my main goal. Doing this behavioral change project helped me learn a lot about my bad habits, and that helped me better know myself in order to change my behavior and reach my main goals. In the book by Watson and Tharp in chapter 9, they discussed that self change requires self focus. We need to concentrate on our behavior change in order to reach it.
This allows us to get on the right track and get to know ourselves a little more, like our high-risk situations and how we need to recognize them in order to pull ourselves away from those kinds of situations. The best thing to do and to start with is a plan. Without a plan, no one can reach their goal in changing their behavior. This is exactly what I knew I had to do in order to change my behavior. I had to have some kind of plan and be able to follow that plan, or else I wouldn’t be able to reach my goals. I set a bedtime for myself and abided by that bedtime every night for two weeks for this project.
I saw positive changes in doing so and I continue to maintain this behavior change to the absolute best of my ability. Like I said, it’s still a struggle, but in the end it’s worth it. Looking back to when I first started out with doing this project, I wanted to do things my way and see if I could change my behavior on my own, kind of cold turkey. I had a plan in motion but, like I mentioned, I had many distractions getting in my way. Now that I look back, the one thing I would change in this whole behavioral change project is not starting as late as I did.
I started my behavior change project a little after two months after the semester started, and now that I think about it, I should’ve started sooner. I could’ve gotten a better night’s sleep sooner throughout this semester, which would’ve really helped me out with my sleep. Another thing I should’ve done was to have gone over the chapters in the book a little more in depth to get a better understanding on the ideas and concepts discussed by Watson and Tharp. I merely skimmed through the chapters, but there are a lot of good ideas I could’ve taken into consideration a lot more to have helped me out with my behavioral change.
All in all, I’m very glad that I got the opportunity to do this project and I’m much happier now that I’ve done it. My sleep has gotten better and I’m doing my very best to maintain that. I no longer feel as sleep deprived as I did before, which makes me happy. I feel a difference throughout the day, and I don’t feel worn out in the mornings either. For me right now in this stage of the game, maintenance is the key for me to continue to get my full or close to eight hours of sleep every night.

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