ABC - three simple letters that we all know. These three letters can be helpful in deciding on a plan of action, and also when reflecting on our decisions and seeing whether or not we acted in the right or most helpful way. It may seem silly to some people, but I find that by planning out my actions and reflecting on them, I can make better decisions in the future. Try this out and see how it helps you!
A) Antecedent - this is what happens before, or the situation that you are in. This is important because it determines what is going on around you. It could be anything - good or bad. Maybe you have revived a bad mark on a test, or perhaps you got into a fight with a friend or loved one. Or perhaps work is stressful, or you have too much to do. On the other hand, it could be something good, as is the case when you hear good news. Whatever happens, this determines your feelings or reactions. How do you feel about this situation? What is going through your head? What has happened that made you feel this way?
B) Behaviour - this is actually what you do, and it is guided by what occurs (the antecedent). What are you going to do about the situation? What actions will you take? Maybe you are so stressed about your job that you accidentally take it out on your spouse and kids. Or maybe you are hopeless because of your marks so you give up studying for the next test. Perhaps you feel happy about your promotion and you celebrate with your family and friends, or you are thankful to God for being with you so you donate some money to the needy. Do you see how this related to the situation? The behaviour, while it may seem easy, is difficult at times to control. We need to think about what we are going to do because it had implications for the future. Sometimes, we make good choice, but at other times, we don't. We may be impulsive and do things that we regret. Our behaviors at times might surprise us because this is not what we are used to. At other times, we may make decisions that seem to be right, only to learn that they were not the best choices we could have made.
C) Consequences - this is what happens when you actually do what you have decided to do. What happened after you acted? Was it what you expected - good or bad? Did anyone get hurt or bothered by what you did? Are you pleased with how you handled the situation? This is important because reflection allows us to realize what we did wrong and what we did right. By weighing out the pros and cons of what we did, we can begin to see what we would do the next time and how this will be different than how we acted before. We learn this way because we can analyze our actions and the consequences they have for our lives. What would you do differently the next time? What did you do that you would do again? How was it helpful, or not helpful? Reflecting like this also helps us make decisions for the future. It allows us to learn from our experiences so that tnext time, we can remember how our actions impacted us and decide if this is what we will do again.
Give it a try! You will be surprised by how much you learn about yourself, as well as from your experiences. You may begin to see a pattern in how you make decisions, and this can help you make wiser or better choices in the future. It can also help you learn what you value, what tyou believe in, and what your priorities are. Now you know your ABCs - next time won't you decide with me?! (okay, so that was SO cheesy....but it rhymed!)