Understanding Our Behaviors


Our behavior can be understood as a product of multiple influences. The more we can identify these influences, the more we can change behaviors that don’t work for us.

Below is a method for mapping out all the factors that influence an unwanted behavior.

Situation. Describe the situation.

Target Behavior. Identify the behavior that you want to change.

Vulnerability Factors. Identify factors that made you more vulnerable to stress. Consider:

  • Unbalanced sleep and eating
  • Physical illness
  • Strong prior emotions still affecting you
  • Use of substances (drugs, alcohol, etc.)

Prompting Event. Describe the specific event that started the chain.

Contributing Factors. Describe the contributing factors that link the prompting event and target behavior. These may include your actions, emotions, and thoughts, as well as events that happen outside of yourself.

Consequences. Describe the consequences of your target behavior.

Skillful Behavior to Try. Describe skills to replace the problem links in the future.

Behavior Needed to Repair. Describe what is needed, if anything, to repair negative consequences.

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