Changing Criterion Design
Experimental designs may sound overly complicated, but they can be a great method to help you reach your SMART goals. Applied Behavior Analysis typically uses single-subject research designs, and each different design can help you reach your goals in different ways.
One type of experimental design is called a changing criterion design. This strategy will be helpful if you want to gradually increase or decrease how often you do something or how long you engage in a certain behavior.
How to use a changing criterion design:
(1) Collect data on your current level of behavior. This can often be how many times you engage in the behavior or how long you engage in the behavior across a certain span of time
Examples: Number of times you work out, how often you eat fast food, how long you go for walks, etc.
(2) Set an initial goal for a level slightly higher or just lower than your current performance
If you want to do the behavior more, increase the level
If you want to do the behavior less, decrease the level
Keep in mind that you are gradually going to build up to your desired level, so try not to make too large of a leap here, as it may demotivate you
(3) Get to action and start collecting data on your performance. It may be helpful to graph the data so you have a visual depiction of your progress.
(4) Once you reach the initial goal, set a new goal for a level that is slightly higher or lower than your previous goal
(5) Continue steps 3-4 until you’re performing at your desired level