week 2 summary, and a behavior analytic explanation for what i am doing.

16 Oct

okay, so i guess first i should start with week 1 summary, which is as follows:

  • breakfasts bought: 1. SUCCESS!
  • breakfasts made: 4. SUCCESS!
  • cost on supplies for breakfasts made: $3.09. SUCCESS!

so week 1 was great.

week 2 was… better than week negative 2, during which i bought breakfast 4 times and felt very guilty about it. week 2 summary:

  • breakfasts bought: 1. SUCCESS!
  • breakfasts made: 0. whoops. well, sort of 2, if i count taking random food someone else made?
  • breakfasts consisting of some whole-wheat banana muffins my housemate made: 2. TASTY!
  • breakfasts eaten at home because of a holiday: 1
  • breakfasts eaten at a hotel and conference: 2!
  • cost on supplies for breakfasts made: $0! SUCCESS! but sort of cheating success, since i didn’t make anything.

you may notice this adds up to 6 breakfasts in 5 days. what i find most annoying about this is that the day that i had two breakfasts was the day that i bought one! but, to be fair, i left home at 6:15 and didn’t get to the conference to eat that breakfast until 9, so i feel like it’s okay to cut myself a little snack.

i tried really hard to get a good picture of the muffins, but totally failed. rather than posting an ugly picture i took, i will just tell you that the pictures for next week are way better.

but! i think the blog was helpful, because i was thinking that i wanted to report back that i did a good job. which brings me to part 2 of this post, which is a re-statement of why i am making this blog, in behavior analytic terms. chances are good you will not find this interesting, so behind a cut it goes!

so, in case you don’t know, i am a behavior analyst for my job. which means i am always thinking about life in terms of behavior change, reinforcement, punishment, and everything else that goes along with it. what does that mean for the goal of buying breakfast less but still eating breakfast every day?

without getting at length into determinism and all the reasons behind this, the simple fact is that if you want to exchange one behavior for another (in this case, exchange eating a breakfast i made in for eating a breakfast i bought), the new behavior has to get more reinforcing, the old behavior has to get less reinforcing or more punishing, or some combination of the two.

so first i have to see what’s going on now. what are the downchecks of making my own breakfast and bringing it (or–what is punishing about making my own breakfast? what has happened in the past that has decreased my future likelihood of making and bringing a breakfast)?

  • it takes a long time to make and i want to sleep in the morning.
  • things that don’t take long are boring.
  • pre-planning is hard.
and what are the upchecks of buying breakfast (or–what is reinforcing about buying breakfast? what has happened in the past that makes me keep buying it)?
  • it is fast and easy!
  • it is not that expensive every day.
  • it is tasty.
  • i have lots of choices of what i want to eat.
so i need to look at how i can manipulate those factors, and whether there are any other consequences at play. the point of this blog is to add in a social reinforcement component to making my own breakfast, and a slight punisher to failing to do so (social shaming, essentially–even if it isn’t mediated by others and is projected).
so, to manipulate the making-my-own-breakfast factors, i essentially have to make it faster and easier. if i can spend one hour on a weekend, and plan on that time, to make all my breakfasts, and then have them all ready to go in my lunch bag in the morning, that actually shifts the balance to making breakfast in advance faster than breakfast bought every day. and if i spend that hour, i can make something really tasty and awesome. and i got all those ideas i mentioned which makes planning easier. so now my lists look like this:
making is bad because:
  • it takes a long time to make and i want to sleep in the morning.
  • things that don’t take long are boring.
  • pre-planning is hard.
buying is good because:
  • it is fast and easy!
  • it is not that expensive every day.
  • it is tasty.
  • i have lots of choices of what i want to eat.
making is good because:
  • it’s faster!
  • i can write on my blog about what a good job i did!
  • it’s cheaper!
buying is bad because:
  • it takes longer.
  • i have to write on my blog that i didn’t do a good job.
  • it costs way more than making.
so suddenly, the value of each has shifted. which should mean, a shift in the behavior will follow. let’s find out!
xoxo
love
eliz.
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