The behavior I have chosen to work on is my sleeping behavior.
I struggle to fall asleep at night. I often stay awake reading a book reading on my phone or watching anything on my phone. Most nights I fall asleep on the couch because I find it more comfortable than my bed. With points to my main issue with my sleeping is the amount of time I spend napping. I use my days sleeping because most of the time the previous nights are used to complete tasks I was unable to do in the day. Making the whole experience a never-ending cycle that I began one day in high school. I enjoy taking nap in the day and I always sleep on the couch.
So I may have conditioned myself to think the couch is the only place I can get a proper sleep. With the use of classical or operant conditioning. Classical conditioning is a technique of learning that occurs when an unconditional stimulus is paired with a conditional stimulus.
The unconditioned stimulus naturally elicits a response without training the conditional stimulus is neutral. Classical conditioning in a more detail form is based on automatic and involuntary behaviors operant conditioning focuses on intentional behaviors. Operant conditioning focuses on strengthening or weakening voluntary behaviors while classical conditioning specializes in involuntary and automatic behaviors.The technique that I am going to follow is operant conditioning or operant behavior. Which means emitted responses that result in certain consequences; these consequences, in turn, affect the future probability or strength of those responses. The objective is to make certain that a certain behavior about myself is modified or completely changed. This theory is also used in reversing habits such as smoking or overeating and in enforcing the engagement of healthier behaviors. There are different types of reinforcements and punishment: positive reinforcement negative reinforcement positive punishment and negative punishment.
I used negative reinforcement which is the removal of a stimulus following a response which then leads to an increase in the future strength of that response. For my change, I removed my phone and naps in hopes of increasing the possibility of going to sleep early. I collected a data of my sleeping pattern for a week, they were different from night too, night. At times I went to bed at midnight and others nights at 3 am. My earlier time was 11:50 and the latest was 5:25 am. Something that stayed consistent was I was that every morning I woke up at the same time because I had to take my brother to school at 9 am every day. I went to bed at different times each night causing my sleeping cycle to be a mess and my body to reposed as it should. Sleeping in my classes was definitely a bad result of not enough sleep.
Naps once in a while are rewarding but I took a nap every day that week. This caused me to be extremely tired the following day. As a result, I struggled to focus throughout the day and school work continue to suffer. Overall the structure of my day was negatively affected by the lack of a good night; sleep. My original plan was to be in bed at 10:30 every night.
I wanted to have all the things that make my night clustered done so I could get the proper hours of sleep. After about a week I realized that this plan was very unrealistic because I could never be in bed on time. At first, I was going to use negative punishment, by stopping myself from taking a nap the following day if I did not get to bed on time. This punishment did not work because I could not stay awake I ended up falling asleep when I was doing my homework. So, I did not have a concrete consequence. However, I had the motivation to be in bed on time.
So after a few days of this plan not working, I switched the plan to 11:30 instead. This seemed to be more realistic and I could have worked better if I started with this plan. I decided to be more focused and very detailed so, created a timetable or a plan to follow. Start working on homework at 5 pm, eat dinner before 7 pm, do my chores at around 8 pm, complete the rest of my homework by 9 pm, get into bed by 10 pm and lights out by 11:30 pm.I originally was going to try this for about 3 weeks but since I changed my method, it became 2 weeks. After changing my what I was going to do halfway through, I know this was not going to work for a long-term plan because realistically a habit cannot be changed in just 14 days. Unless I continued it for another 2 more weeks because right now I have a good foundation.
Also, I do not always follow through with plans unless someone is watching and guiding my progress. So I had my sister watch the first week to make sure I follow the plan.What I have learned in my 14 days of behavioral modification is that it is nearly impossible to handle this type of commitment especially in a college setting. Above all, what I have learned about behavioral modification is that it is difficult and this is why we need those reinforcements ( positive or negative or fixer ratio) to help motivate ourselves.
Generally speaking, I believe it could have been the time limit or that the reinforcements I used were not for me. I might use this on my family if I continued this on myself to see if it truly works.