Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Count What Counts

You get what you measure. Measuring can be as simple as using a wrist counter and clicking each time you do a behavior you want to reinforce. In Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated, David Burns shares an example of how one of his patients gained self-confidence using this very technique:

“The solution turned out to be simpler than he anticipated. I suggested he obtain a wrist counter, so that each day he could count the things he did on his own without prodding or encouragement from anyone. At the end of the day, he was to write down the total number of clicks he scored and keep a daily log.

Over a several week period, he began to notice that his daily score increased. Every time that he clicked the counter, he reminded himself that he was in control of his life, and in this way, he trained himself to notice what he did do. Stevie began to feel increased self-confidence, and to view himself as a more capable being.”

I think the beauty of this technique is the simplicity. I think it works simply because your paying attention. It can be so easy to focus on the negative or ignore the good. In this case, you’re deliberately paying attention to your good behavior, and you’re making it “count.” It’s yet another way of getting what you focus on.