Following on from my last post (“The Under-Regulation Reset” – Part 1), something else that people who are in the habit of under-regulating their behaviour tend to struggle with is monitoring.
Self-Monitoring is a skill that is likely to be useful for you at points so is good to have in your psychological toolbelt.
Pick something to monitor that isn’t emotionally loaded for you.
Just like the experiment in “The Under Regulation Reset Part 1,” this experiment is about successfully surfing whatever thoughts, emotions, behavioural impulses etc pop up for you when you commit to the action of monitoring that are about the commitment to monitoring itself rather than what you are monitoring.
For example, if you think you probably make some unnecessary trips in your car and would like to be more environment/pocket friendly you could monitor your car use.
e.g. keep a DIY log book of each trip that includes
– KM/miles travelled
– Reason for trip
– Odometer start
– Odometer end
– As part of monitoring, put in place some mechanism for reviewing the data you get e.g. putting it on a graph at the end of each week.
What’s the point?
The act of monitoring is likely to lead to changes in your behaviour. You might know you could organize yourself to make fewer trips, or walk/bike more, but the physcial act of recording your trips will give you a completely different experience than just thinking about your car use intellectually.
Monitor whatever you choose to monitor for 2 weeks. Don’t set active goals for changing your, for example, car use. This 2 week self-experiment is just about experiencing, observing with psychological distance, and surfing whatever thoughts, emotions, behavioural impulses etc pop up for you when you commit to monitoring.
If you get off track with monitoring, course correct rather than giving up. You might need to observe and surf thoughts, memories, emotions about giving up if these arise.
Another self monitoring idea is to monitor how many plastic bags you use in a week.
Part of why self monitoring is an important skill to have in your psychological toolbelt is that
– not thinking about behaviours you do that are inconsistent with your valued directions
– not keeping track of behaviour you are attempting to change
are common types of avoidant coping. By monitoring you take away your option of using “not thinking about it” as avoidant coping.