Saturday, September 22, 2007

How To Use a Pleasure-Predicting Sheet

Can you really predict just how much you'll enjoy something or not? In Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated, David Burns writes about a technique for testing your belief that there is no point in doing anything. It's a Pleasure-Predicting Sheet.

What I like most about this technique is it’s test-driven. By recording your expected pleasure against your results, you get a quick reality check of potentially self-limiting behavior or thoughts. It's one thing to think you will or won't enjoy something. It's another to take action and measure the results. Maybe some of the things you think "should" bring you pleasure, actually don't. On the other hand, maybe some of the things you think you won't enjoy as much, bring you more satisfaction than you expected.

The Pleasure-Predicting Sheet is a technique you use to record your estimated expected pleasure against your actual pleasure. You schedule a set of activities that contain a potential for personal growth or satisfaction. You do some of them by yourself and some with others. You predict your pleasure before the activities, and then record the actual results, after the events.

Summary of Steps

  • Step 1. Create the Pleasure Predicting Sheet.
  • Step 2. Write down your pleasure activities.
  • Step 3. Predict your satisfaction.
  • Step 4. Record your actual satisfaction.

Step 1. Create the Pleasure Predicting Sheet.
To create the Pleasure Predicting Sheet:

  1. Draw four lines down the center of a piece of paper to divide it into five columns.
  2. Label the columns: Data, Activity for Satisfaction, Who You Did This With, Predicted Satisfaction (0-100%), Actual Satisfaction(0-100%)

Step 2. Write down your pleasure activities.
Write down the activities, the date, and who you will do them with. If alone, then specify self.

Step 3. Predict your satisfaction.
Write down your prediction of how much satisfaction you’ll get on a scale from 0 to 100%.

Step 4. Record your actual satisfaction.
After you perform the activities, write down your actual satisfaction.

Example Pleasure-Predicting Sheet
Burns include an example Pleasure-Predicting Sheet:

DateActivity for SatisfactionWho You Did This WithPredicted Satisfaction(0-100%)Actual Satisfaction(0-100%)
8/2/99Reading (1 hour)self50%60%
8/3/99Dinner + bar w/BenBen80%90%
8/4/99Susan's partyself80%85%
8/5/99N.Y.C. and Aunt Helenparents and grandma40%30%
8/5/99Nancy's HouseNancy and Joelle75%65%
8/6/99Dinner at Nancy's12 people60%80%
9/6/99Lucy's partyLucy + 5 people70%70%
8/9/99Harry'sHarry, Jack, Ben and Jim60%85%
8/10/99Phillies game.Dad50%70%
8/11/99Dinner.Susan and Ben70%70%
8/12/99Art museumself60%70%

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