Behavior Modification

Identify one of your own unsustainable behaviors (e.g. food waste, meat consumption, plastic bag use, excessive car use) and follow the steps below to modify it. Changing one of your own behaviors can serve as a springboard to systemic change by inspiring you to actively shape your environment to support other sustainable behaviors. Also, modeling is a powerful social influence so changing your own behavior is a positive step toward changing the behavior of others around you. 1) Title Page: Include the title of your assignment, your name, student number, and word count. The word count should start at the first word of the Introduction and ends with the last word of the report (i.e. it does not include the reference list).  2) Body: The assignment should be broken down into four main sections (a) Introduction  (i) Define the problem: Introduce the problem you intend to address by changing your behaviour. Why is the problem important?  (ii) Identify the behaviors that contribute to the problem: What do you currently do that contributes to the problem? This may be a variety of different behaviors, but you should identify one that dominates the impact on the problem.  (iii) Observe baseline behavior: After you have specified a behavior, count and graph it over a 2-week period before you attempt to change your behavior. This gives a baseline line measure of your current behavior. (b) Modify your behavior (i) Set a specific behavior goal: Define a specific goal in behavioral terms. This should include specific actions (e.g. take cloth bags when grocery shopping) that are realistic and achievable. Explain why setting specific behavioral goals are important for behavior change (see text chapter 8).  (ii) Make a public commitment to change. Tell someone about the project and your sustainable behavior goal. Explain why public commitments are important for behavior change (see text chapter 5)  (iii) Design a plan to alter the contingencies: Figure out ways you can change the antecedents (things that happen before) and consequences (things that happen after) of your undesired and desired behaviors. For example, if you plan to use a reusable cup for your morning takeaway coffee, you could keep one on your desk or in your backpack (this is an antecedent – it happens before the desired behavior). Or, if you forget your cup you could put some coins in the tips jar (this is a consequence – it happens after the undesired behavior). Explain the basic concept of behavior modification and define the antecedent and/or consequence strategies you use (see text chapter 5). (iv) Create a contract. This makes your plans concrete. The contract should specify the goal behaviors and contingencies. For example, “I will use my “keep cup” for my takeaway coffee. I will keep it in my backpack, and if I forget to use it I will put 50 cents in the café’s tip jar.” (c) Implement and evaluate the change (i) Implement and track your new behaviour. Record and graph your behavior over a 2-week period. This way you can judge the extent to which the altered antecedent and consequent strategies are working to support your sustainable behavior. (ii) Critically evaluate and identify potential limitations of your self-change plan. Adjust the plan as needed. If you experience less success than you anticipate, you may need to revisit and adjust your contingency plan. (d) Generalize the change to related behaviors. (i) Eventually, your new sustainable behavior should become habitual or at least more frequent. Suggest ways in which you can include additional behaviors in the same domain. For example, also bring a reusable container and cutlery for takeaway food. 3) References: Include a reference list in APA format.

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