Breaking Bad Habits
Do you wish you could break your bad habits, like smoking cigarettes, cracking your knuckles,etc. Self-management is a form of behavior modification that allows a person to modify their own behavior.
Do you have a behavior that you want to change? If so, this is called your target behavior. There are two forms of target behaviors, behavior excesses and behavior deficits. The first step is to take a sheet of paper and write down exactly what it is that you do, that you want to change. If it's a behavior excess that means you want to stop (or do it less) doing something. If it's a deficit, then you need to start doing a behavior.
Now first, get a "baseline", this entails taking about five days, and just writing down how many times you participate in your target behavior. Now, make a contract with yourself. You can either use reinforcement or punishment. For example, with reinforcement, let's take Candy the slob. Candy is keeping a data sheet and writing down every time she makes a mess in the house. Every Friday night her husband has offered to give her a 30 minute back rub, however, every mess she makes subtracts three minutes of rubbing time.
What about punishment? Jeanie is also a slob, and she lives with a roommate, she signs a deal with her roommate promising that for every time she leaves a mess in the apartment she has to pay her roommate five dollars. If Jeanie later cleans up the mess she gets two of the five dollars back.
Make sure that someone else enforces the rule of your contract, otherwise you are likely to not punish or reinforce yourself when you are supposed to. Give yourself mental praise during the process and don't despair. In no time you will have changed your target behavior!