Now we know our ABC’s

Written by  on June 14, 2005 

Have you ever secretly thought about something you do and considered that you would like to stop doing it?… you know that little habit that you know you do, and you sure as hell hope that no-one ever catches you doing it

What about that big thing that happens to you when you can least afford it to happen?

Every one of us has one or two of these little embarrassing little habits, and we all know that the ones that don’t, usually are pretty good at keeping their secret habit under wraps.

Now these little habits can cause us distress at the best of times and a complete breakdown of our confidence at the worst of times. It’s not so much that others may think that it is nothing… to us, it’s the worst thing that could happen to anyone and, guess what, that worst thing is happening to the person most important to us… yes, it’s happening to US!

Breaking habits are considered to be a tough task. Like smoking, our habits can be addictive and despite our wishes to give them up, when the heat goes on, the habits start up again.

So let’s get back to our little secret, how are we going to deal with it in a way that handles it completely and doesn’t cause others to suspect that we had one in the first place?

Well, I might have something for you here and it’s a great habit to get into… only joking, So lets look at this plan I have. Its as simple as A.B.C… in fact, that is all it is.

The ABC Model

A=Antecedent: The event occurring before a behavior. This event prompts that behavior.

B=Behavior: Response to the events that can be seen or heard.

C=Consequence: The event(s) that follow(s) the behavior. This effects whether the behavior will occur again.

This way of habit management is a style for you to use that focuses on a positive and pleasant approach towards understanding and handling your habits. This approach will assist you in establishing a set of guidelines that will promote desirable behavior for you. Of course, these are not something to be used occasionally. For them to be fully effective, you must apply them consistently across all areas of your life – continually. Even though implementation can be difficult at first, eventually these techniques will become second nature to you.

The focus is on the behavior you wish to deal with. The habit you wish to look at will have an event that tends to set it off. This is the Antecedent, The A of the ABC. Start to understand where and when this habit kicks in and you start to put things back under your control.

What we are looking at here are the prompts in life that cause you to act in a certain way. From this we do something, we act in a certain way. This is the Behavior. What happens to us afterwards is the Consequence.

So you can see where we are heading with this. We want to find out what sets us off? What is the trigger for our behavior or our habit? Then what are the consequences that happen? Remember that habits are usually set up as a safety mechanism earlier in our life and they become ingrained in what we do even though they may not be effective anymore.

Okay, so we are starting to come to grips with what makes us tick. Usually the habit is a response to a couple of things in this equation. It is set off by the Antecedent but in time we see the Consequence of our behavior is causing some sort of grief so we mask it. We hide behind the habit

You could look at this as the cross check in the equation. We are doing a self study on our actions, and reactions and what happens beforehand, during and after.

So what do we do with all this information we have gathered?

The first thing to make clear is that we are not trying to get critical about ourselves. Heaven forbid, there are plenty of people out there in this world that make a habit of pointing out our insecurities. We aren’t required to do that. As you will already know, you act best when you get some positive reinforcement. So that’s what we are going to do here. Beating yourself up is not allowed.

Where are we at then?

Well first of all, we have sorted out that we have a habit we wish to deal with

We get a fix on what it is

We figure out what the behavior is that this habit is based on

We look a little bit earlier into what kicks this behavior into being

We work our way through the scenario and see what consequences are the result of this

Note that sometimes we set up a habit to shield ourselves from the consequence but in all cases the Antecedent, the trigger, will always be present.

With all this information we can start to see that there are different ways to remove the trigger, change the response or to take charge and positively reinforce any changes we wish to take. This might involve getting support from people who you let into your “secret”

These are the four types of consequences that can influence behavior:

1. Positive reinforcers.

2. Negative reinforcers.

3. Punishment.

4. Penalties.

The most common is in fact Negative Reinforcers. You see it all the time in business. Some Managers are constantly reminding staff to do something or risk getting fired. So the person does it to avoid the pain but this form of reinforcement creates a situation where constant supervision is required. The people who work under this regime are stressed and unable to perform at their best

Punishment and penalties are used all the time with children and this moves over into business as well

Positive reinforcement is effective because it works. You know yourself how much you enjoy getting a well done and a pat on the back. It creates a desire to continue to do well.

This is what will give you the strength to work through this little habit of yours. I can’t stress the importance of this positive stance. It creates a sense of well being and you gain strength from it.

Now this ABC Model is used throughout the community. It is a cornerstone in handling children and their many issues. It is used to help special needs children with great success. Businesses have also seen a way to develop staff and help them through to desired outcomes for both the staff and the business.

There is a mountain of information available at your fingertips on the web. Just search for Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence,

I am suggesting you use it to break yourself out of the little habit that you want to move away from. Use this as a personal model to create an ideal environment by understanding the areas around what happens that triggers your habit.

This is something you can do all by yourself, without telling anyone what you are doing. Therefore it is perfectly safe to experiment with and try out.

Now I have only given you a brief rundown on this model. It’s a start… The fact is, that it’s a start in the direction of knowing a little more about yourself and knowledge is power. Enjoy

Until next week

Cheers… Bill

Bill Gray

Bill is a Business Coach. Working with Individuals, Businesses and Organisations to create better environments and to develop and enhance business ”potential”, into successful business practices.

Sydney, Australia

Ph +61 413 949 521

Copyright ©Bill Gray billgray.biz All Rights Reserved 2005

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