Behavior modification is not the goal. It is not a goal for myself, for my kids, or for anyone that I teach. It is a necessary step on the way to self-improvement, but not the ultimate goal. My goal as a teacher, writer, and everything else I do is to help bring permanent change.
There are three basic steps to bring permanent change. These steps are true in all aspects of life, including, but not limited to:
- Financially – How your money gets spent.
- Spiritually – How you interact with God.
- Physically – How healthy you are.
- Socially – How you interact with everyone around you, including your family, friends, co-workers, etc.
- Emotionally – How you deal with problems.
- Intellectually – How you learn new things.
- Realize you are doing things wrong. As they say realizing there is a problem is the first step to recovery. If I constantly deny there is a problem, there is no way I can ever correct it. Usually this is the hardest step. Many times, I become comfortable in the things I am doing wrong, because that is the way I have always done it. This is not a valid reason to continue in doing wrong. I hope that I don’t have to hit rock bottom in any given category to wake me up to a problem. However this is the case for many people. A smart person learns from his mistakes, a wise person learns from other people’s mistakes.
- Doing the right things because you have to. This is the phase that includes behavior modification. If I run out of money before all my bills are paid, I have no choice but to quit buying some things. I can make my five-year old son do something that he does not want to do. I can assert my authority over him to make sure he does not stick a knife in an electrical outlet. That will work for some time, but eventually he will be in a situation where I will not be there to stop him. So, unless he moves on to the third step, he may have trouble. Obviously, this phase is essential. So, while behavior modification is not the final goal; it is definitely necessary.
- Doing right because that is who you are. The jump from 2 to 3 can be a huge one. Often times there are a lot of steps in between 2 and 3. The important thing is to get here. The goal is to do the right things because you WANT to do the right thing. It is in your soul. It is who you are.
I was able to lose quite a bit of weight a few years ago. I realized one day that if I continued on the road I was on, I could have health issues. Those health issues could result in my life not being as productive or long as I would like. So, I decided that I was going to lose weight. I knew the only way I would lose the weight is if I made myself exercise and eat better. Over several months, I changed my lifestyle. Since then, I have changed who I am. It was a difficult road. I know that I am a better person for it.
What are some things that you know you need to change? What are some ways you can implement those changes?