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    Know how to Work on your Will Power



    Psychologist believe that will power is a learned skill that can be strengthened through principles of learning. This will power is termed as self-control in psychology. A person learns self-control through interaction with his or her environment.

    Skinners distinguish between controlled and controlling behaviors. The controlling behaviors are primarily learned and thus more susceptible to change. Generally, people believe that we should have insight and mastery of the internal forces of behavior. But that alone is not enough for effective adjustment. We must have awareness of external forces too. Much of our behavior is heavily influenced by situational factors which is one reason why our will fluctuates from one situation to another.

    There are two important influences for behavior, the cues that precipitate behavior and the consequences that follow it. Alerting both types of variables is essential for achieving greater self-control. Certain cues in our surrounding or within us may trigger what we say to do. Often we are dimly aware of this. For instances, merely seeing food may make us suddenly feel hungry.

    A cue may set off a whole series of behavior, which is termed as chain behavior. A behavior chain is a complex sequence of behavior that tend to occur together. For example, a man who leaves office at 5 p.m. finds himself too drunk at 6 p.m. He realized that coming home early and having much time on hand served as a cue to his drinking. As a result, he decided to play tennis for two days and go for a walk for the rest of the days. By altering the cue (too much of time alone) he modified his behavior.

    Setting a goal. The starting point for achieving a better self-control is setting a goal for yourself. The goal is known as a target behavior. Two aspects should be kept in mind while setting a goal. One is defining the target behavior and the other is selecting and attainable goal.

    The target behavior has to be defined in behavioral terms. One may want to decrease or eliminate an undesirable behavior like excessive smoking. Or one may want to acquire a more positive behavior like completing the class assignment on time. In this process, describing the goal in terms of personality traits like dependency should be avoided. Instead think of specific behaviors associated with this general characteristic.

    For instance, learning to be assertive; what kinds of behavior are associated with this term?
    It is better to attempt modifying behavior in only one situation like speaking up in class, then in meetings etc. In due course, this may be generalized to other situations. It is also preferable to define your target behavior in positive terms.

    For instance, instead of stating that I would like to be less dependent, state as I would like to be more independent. Focus on what you want to be not what you are in trying to eliminate undesirable behavior, make your goal an incompatible alternative.

    For instance, to reduce watching TV if you try to punish yourself whenever watching TV then you is giving more attention to the undesirable behavior. Instead focus on the development of a competing activity like reading gardening etc. The target behavior must be realistic i.e., should be attainable. The most common mistake is that people select and overly ambitious or unrealistic goal. Here they see only the goal and the associated benefits.

    More instance, a student securing 60% marks aims for distinction. Here the students see only the appreciation, popularity etc. that he/she may get but fails to see the means to the goal. So he is likely to meet with failure. A better goal would be to aim for the next grade and proceed further.

    A person may not be sufficiently motivated unless the behavior is bothersome or problem to the individual. If a person selects a difficult, long-standing problem, then the person will feel that the problem is more complex than the person realized but also may not find sufficient objectively to analyze it correctly. Hence he may not know how to change.

    So it is appropriate to select a more limited goal and experience success. Such an experience will reinforce for continuing the self-improvement.

    Hi, I’m Aarti, My Psychoanalytical approach towards my clients is to empower them to better their lives through improving their relationship with themselves. I believe shame and guilt is a common barrier to change. I aim to guide my clients through re authoring their narratives where shame, guilt, and other problems have less power and take up less space.

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