Personal Assignment On Behavior Change
- Target behavior
- What target behavior is the focus of your behavior change assignment?
- Why did you choose to focus on this behavior?
- Describe your history with the target behavior and discuss what were the barriers and situational factors that prevented successful change.
- Learning about your target behavior and Building Motivation to Change.
- What are the short-term risks of not changing this behavior? (Include citations in APA format).
- Long-term Risks of target behavior. What diseases or health problems are you putting yourself at risk for by not changing this behavior? (Include citations in APA format).
- What are the short-term benefits of continuing to engage in the behavir?
- What effect would changing the behavior have on your current level of wellness?
- Do you believe that the pros of changing the target behavior outweigh the cons?
- Barriers and Strategy
- Set SMART Goals. Specific: State your goal in specific terms
- Measureable: How will you quantify your goal and keep track? Track social media usage using settings on iPhone settings app to ensure only 20 minutes is being spent on social media each day.
- Attainable: Is this goal attainable (within your physical limits)? This goal is achievable. All 3 mini goals allow my main goal, checking social media only twice a day, to be achievable. Motivation also makes this goal attainable as it is in my best interest to succeed in my behavior change.
- Realistic: Is this goal realistic? This goal is attainable as I currently spend an hour on social media per day, therefore I am only reducing the amount of time I spend on social media by 33.3% which in my case is attainable. d. Time frame specific: What is your time frame for meeting the specific goal? Keep in mind that Part 2 of the assignment is due on Nov 16. The time frame for meeting my specific goal, checking social media twice a day for 20 minutes, is one month. Therefore, I will have achieved my goal by October 18th, 2018.
- My first resource is my friends on campus. By discussing my social media addiction the people I see every day can help motivate me to achieve my goal.
- As mentioned earlier, I use social media to escape certain emotions such as stress. Luckily, the University of Waterloo has excellent and trained staff to help students cope with these kinds of feelings. If I ever feel sad or left out I can always turn to campus wellness.
- My last resource is various clubs and inter murals on campus. It is important to keep myself busy. By joining various clubs on campus I would be socializing more often and I would have less time to spend on social networking sites.
- Environment Modification
- The first way to modify my behavior was to spend most of my study time in libraries. This way my phone would have to be off or on silent due to standard library rules.
- Another environment modification that lessened cues that trigger my target behavior was to sit at the very front of the class. The reason this environment change works is due to the fact that it is considered disrespectful to be on your phone in class, however, when seated at the back of the class it was easier for me to go on my phone unnoticed however when seated at the front of the class I was less tempted to scroll through social media as a demonstration of respect.
- My first reward is to research travel ideas every time I got a major task done without scrolling through social media. I am a very adventurous person, so looking at travel opportunities was a significant reward for me.
- My second reward was to go out with friends. I found that this reward helped improve my behavior as I was replacing virtual socialization with real face-to-face communication which improved my overall interpersonal wellness.
- My last reward was to go for a run when I spend less than 30 minutes total throughout the day on social media. I find that running boosts my emotional and physical wellness so this reward worked out well for me.
The target behavior that I will be focusing on for my behavior change assignment is reducing the amount of time I spend on social media. I chose this specific target behavior as it has become a distraction which has caused me to lack the focus I used to have. It has also limited my interpersonal skills significantly and I find that it would be beneficial for me to limit the use of social media on a daily basis especially now, as a University student.
I chose this behavior as it has a had a negative impact on my emotional wellness, as social media tends to portray a false reality which influences people’s perception of what life should be which negatively impacts their self-confidence. It also acts as a distraction which causes a decline in my interpersonal wellness as I’ll revert to scrolling through social media rather than connecting face to face with peers.
I found that every time I was bored or uninterested I would log onto social media to keep myself entertained. I would put my phone in my bag during class to avoid using it but as soon as I understood all the concepts in class and was no longer interested I would go back onto my phone. This lead to me using my phone every time I felt anxious or uncomfortable in any way.
Some of the short term risks include a significant change in certain emotions. Firstly, the more time spent on social media the higher the individual’s stress level. This stress is due to a social overload. Social media causes people to stress about the amount of social interactions they have compared to another person. This also causes a significant decrease in self-esteem and often makes people feel lonely. Another example that triggers loneliness are social media posts involving “vacations and social events”; this causes a feeling of bitterness as it makes viewers feel left out.
Unfortunately, the main long-term risk found very frequently is depression. As negative feelings, such as loneliness increase, the chances of depression also increase. Depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and self-resentment which can ultimately lead to suicide.
Lastly, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is another long term risk of excessive social media use. This is mainly caused by people becoming vulnerable to social networking site notifications which progressively shortens an individual’s attention span.
The main positive contribution that social media provides me is that it keeps me entertained. When I am distracted by social media it allows me to ignore the thoughts in my head that I want to avoid, for example stress. It is also an excellent and simple way to network and keep in touch with individuals I do not necessarily see on a regular basis.
My overall emotional wellness would improve significantly as I would not compare myself to the virtual realities of social media, I would be forced to face my stresses and deal with them head on rather than trying to avoid them. This will allow me to understand and accept my own feelings rather than distracting myself with social media. Avoiding social media would motivate me to master new and interesting skills which would improve my overall intellectual wellness. I would also gain better social skills talking to people face to face rather than through messaging which improves my interpersonal wellness.
I believe that the pros do outweigh the cons. The pros of social media are only short term however the cons negatively affect society in the long run. For example social media started off as a way to connect with others. However, nowadays society no longer gets to know one another on a personal, face-to-face manner anymore. Currently, we find ourselves scrolling through a person’s Instagram page to get to know them. People tend to only show highlighted features of themselves on social media which causes our society to believe that a person’s virtual life is reality. This has us believe that everyone we connect with on social media has a flawless life which causes others to become insecure about their bodies, lifestyle, hobbies, and more. This leads to a lack of interpersonal wellness as well as emotional wellness as the viewer will start to lose self-confidence.
The first pattern I noticed was that on the successful days where I spent less time on social media were my most busy days. On those days I found that I had limited time between classes, I had extra-curricular to attend and a lot of school work. This limited my time spent on social media significantly.
Another situational factor I noticed was that I unknowingly log onto social media before going to bed. I believe that this occurred as I tend to enjoy keeping myself busy.
The first barrier is being tempted to use my phone in class. The strategy I used to overcome this barrier is to have a peer put my phone in their bag. This helps as I would never open someone else’s bag, therefore I would never reach for my phone.
As mentioned earlier I found that I would scroll through social media when I was bored. To overcome this barrier I would start to spend more time on my hobbies or learn a new skill. For example, when studying I would often find myself bored after about an hour of review so I started switching the subjects I was studying more frequently, if that did not work I would go for a quick jog around my residence for energy so that I could focus again rather than scrolling through social media as I used to do.
The third barrier is something known as “Reflexive Behavior”. An example of reflexive behavior that applies to my behavior is automatically reaching for my phone every time I hear a text tone or a notification. Due to having dealt with this behavior for a few years it has become a reflexive habit to check social media when I hear a notification. To avoid this habit I turned off all notifications to group text messages, all social media, etc. This will reduce the amount of time spent on my phone significantly.