Boxer doing push-up
French Fries with BBQ Sauce Illustration of smoker

Due date (not the same as "DO" date) is Tuesday, 10 May at 11:55 PM.  Late papers receive 1/2 credit.  This PROJECT is worth 20% of your course grade.  Submit your final, formatted paper in WORD or .rtf files uploaded to the class site please.


Also remember that you will NOT perform the steps in order.  Many activities may be done simultaneously.  It is the REPORTING of the events that occur in a prearranged order.  Soooooo, keep good notes as you go.

Purpose  The purpose of this project is to devise a single, small first step in changing a health behavior.  This is a mini-change project rather than a larger endeavor such as losing 20 pounds.  Big success builds on a series of little successes.  This goal should be small and it should be completely doable.  You can only work on ONE GOAL AT A TIME.  Changing just ONE behavior is difficult enough

This semester your project will be divided into five sections, due on 3 different dates.  On the last date, you will turn-in  ALL the STEPS in the final submission. (Link in WEEK 13)  This should allow most students to stay on track and avoid the pitfalls of procrastination (the avoidance of which is a worthy goal on which to work for this project) Please be sure to read completely through this project and the grading rubric (bottom of paper) to get a "Gestalt" (the big picture)..  In addition, when you are finally ready to turn in the entire paper, reread the instructions and grading rubric to be sure you have included everything required.                                                                                                              



This behavior change PROJECT will encompass (4) four weeks total.  The first week of the PROJECT (not the first week of class) will involve keeping a daily DIARY of the baseline behavior that you have selected to alter. This will provide you a starting point--a baseline.  The next three weeks will involve among the other class activities, a required daily DIARY of your progress toward your single goal.   New this year, I have provided you an exemplar of a former student's work to assist you with formatting the paper.

The first entry will be short and is due at the end of the THIRD WEEK (Tuesday, 2/22).  This will help to get you thinking about the health behavior issue you may want to address for your PROJECT. 

Format your paper using the American Psychological Association style (APA) for the title page, running header, pagination, margins and reference page.  Please be sure to use the section headings in the grading rubric (bottom of instruction) as headings to assure you receive the most points possible. If you look in the top middle of the class site, you will see a link for proper style formatting.  I expect proper sentence structure, punctuation and grammar but, please use the headings and order in the OUTLINE provided.  This facilitates the grading. Searching for that little nugget of information I am looking for in a creatively crafted submission is not a good use of time for either of us.

When you "save" your project , you must "save as" RICH TEXT FORMAT (.rtf) or MS Word file and upload your final submission at the HEALTH BEHAVIOR MINI-CHANGE PROJECT located in the top middle section of the class site.  Instructions for saving your paper as an .rtf file are located in the same section of the class site (top middle section). 


Step 1    Post in WEEK 6  



Deciding on only one issue on which you wish to work is usually not too taxing. Many studentw want to eat right, lose or gain weight and exercise.  Well, that is three issues.  You must narrow it down to only one. We all have areas involving our health that need improvement.  I am hopeful that by the time you complete the Health Assessment in Week 1 as well as the QUESTIONNAIRES listed under Activities on the right side of the class site, you may be able to identify an area for focus.

Your issue statement does not need to be written in positive terms; you only have to state what you believe to be the area on which you have chosen to work for your project.


This means that you do not want to make a goal that sounds like you are losing something.  It takes a bit of imagination to do this.  Say, for instance, you want to stop smoking.  That is a negative statement. A positive statement would be to wear a nicotine patch as recommended by the package directions.  Your mind responds best to positive statements.  What is your inclination when someone tells you not to do something?  Being told not to do an action is all it takes for me to really try a lot harder to do it; doesn't it do that to you also?   So, if you want to reduce your fat intake (something your mind will fiercely protect against), you should state how many grams of fat you will allow yourself each day.  Do you get it?  Your subconscious mind won't try to resist or sabotage a positive goal.

Here is a list of ideas you may want to consider (but be sure to word them as positive statements.):  Try to identify which are worded in positive terms and which have a negative phrasing that must be converted to positive statements.  None of the statements below are complete goals in themselves as you will see as you read further.Getting the goal correct is the most important phase of the project.  Losing weight is never good.  You nust determine what exactly you will change to do that and that becomes your goal.  You might choose to eat more vegetables or fill your plate with 75% of its content being vegetables, eat on a 10 inch rather than a 12 inch plate, or even use a salad plate at dinner.. Another strategy might be to set a timer and eat your meals over a 20 minute period rather than eating more quickly.Can you see that those positive goals are so much more specific and meaningful than, "lose weight?"


The goal statement is a contract and contains significant specificity. It always contains three parts:  the ACTION VERB PHRASE, the AMOUNT, and the DURATION of the contract.

The ACTION VERB PHRASE usually begins, "I will.....".  Remember that what you "will" do must be positive.  It would not look like,  "I will lose...", or, "I will stop...".  All negative ideas can be turned into positive ones but it requires some thought.

The AMOUNT is how much you will do what it is that you decide to do.

The DURATION is a statement of how long you will engage in your contract.  In this PROJECT, it will always be 3 weeks and you must include the dates..

Example of POSITIVE GOAL: 

Issue:  I believe I do not get enough fiber in the foods that I eat.

Goal Statement:  I will consume (verb phrase) at least 25 grams of fiber/day (amount) for three weeks beginning 17 Sept. and ending 8 Oct.(duration), .

Example of NEGATIVE GOAL converted to a POSITIVE GOAL

" I will lose 5 lbs. in three weeks beginning _______and ending_____."  This can be converted to a POSITIVE GOAL.

For example:  I will consume 1200 kcal for three weeks beginning_______ and ending________."

VERY IMPORTANT !!!  Once you have your goal, begin keeping an daily diary of the the chosen activity for the WEEK BEFORE you begin your project.  This is the BASELINE week and really the only way you can determine success or failure with your goal.


This involves cutting the goal you choose in half and double the time it will take to accomplish it.  The 50% Rule is very important.  When establishing any goal, we often ask too much of ourselves to be successful.  Remember success builds on success rather than failure.  Once you achieve a goal, you feel satisfied and are more willing to continue the behavior and perhaps try another change in the future.  In this project, you will be asked to change only one behavior for three weeks and document your project in a journal at the class site.  Since the time is established, to use the 50% rule, you should cut your goal in half.  For instance, you may want to try meditating for 30 minutes every day for the three weeks.  A better choice for success would be to apply the 50% rule and meditate for 15 minutes only three times a week. You must also state the dates and your initial goal should be worded exactly the same but for the 50% change in the 50% Goal.


Required information in addition to items 1-5 in STEP 1: After stating your issue and your goal, in your journal workspace, list 4-5 of the reasons you chose THIS health behavior change. 

Next, list 4-5 reasons not to choose this health behavior change.

Give each item in both columns a numerical ranking of 0-5 that indicates the level of import you give each of the items listed.

Add the pro score

Add the con score

Implications for success Based on your Totals: Draw conclusions about the estimation of your success from a comparison of these scores.

What I Hope to Learn from this Project::  List 3-4 things you want to learn. For instance, just learning how to set a goal in positive terms could be one.

Prior Experiences with this Goal:  Most of us have tried to change a behavior before and it is usually the one you have chosen.  Tell me about how that went for you.  Did you experience success and if so, what; did you encounter what you perceived as failure and describe that experience for me.

How will you Determine Success with this goal:  You must have something to which to compare to your project such as a DAILY diary of your BASELINE week.The BASELINE week is the week BEFORE you began your project.


Step 2    


This step involves research. Follow the guidelines in STEP 2 and include the following information.

Establish a baseline of your current behavior.Keep a daily diary of the specific behavior for 1 week BEFORE you begin the 3 week prokect.

EXAMPLE: For the above goal exemplar, read all labels (and nutritional information sheets at restaurants or fast food diners) to determine the amount of dietary fiber listed/serving of the food you eat each day.  Write each food, approximate amount eaten, and the grams of dietary fiber in your DIARY and total the grams for each day for 7 days.  This becomes your baseline value for the week.


Select and read 4 academically credible resources that relate to your health behavior change area.  Your text can count as one resource. You must document the following:

If a text, Copy and Paste only questions 1-3, 7, and 8.

If an internet resource, Copy and Paste all questions befow for EACH resource::No questions, you will receive a zero for this section.

  1. What is the URL of the site? Please COPY and PASTE the ACTIVE link (it should show up as underlined and lead to the site you viewed by my clicking on it. There are directions to making the link ACTIVE in the resource list in the top middle of the class site.)(1)
  2. What is the title of the site?(1)
  3. Who is the author? (Try the "About Us" or similar link to discover this. It is NOT the webmaster.)(1)
  4. If an organization sponsors the site, what organization is it?(1)
  5. What search engine did you use to find this site? Or what link did you follow to locate this site?(1)
  6. What keywords did you use in your search engine?(1)
  7. What caused you to choose this site over others you visited on this quest?(1)
  8. Summarize the overall contents available at this site.Note: This is not the same as summarizing the goal relevant content that will be covered in STEP 5. (3)


For authoritative books or journal articles, document using the APA link listed below.  Wikipedia is NOT an authoritative resource site, nor is!!  You may use it to locate other original academically authoritative resources however.  You might try EBSCOHOST at Gavilan's online Library or you can try typing Google Scholar in the GOOGLE SEARCH bar.  It is an excellent site and you can set the date range so all your sources are  less than or equal to 5 years old.  You will also have a resource list of the resources consulted in the Resource page of the final paper.  APA instructions. 

Step 3      Project Plan 

This phase involves developing and devising an action plan for accomplishing your goal. In this phase you will identify what behaviors and/or thoughts that will help and hinder your progress toward your goal, post reminders and plan rewards. 

In your JOURNAL list three thoughts and/or behaviors that will help you achieve your goal then do the same for those thoughts and/or behaviors that will sabotage your progress.

EXAMPLES of HELPFUL THOUGHTS/BEHAVIORS:  You could post reminders on your steering wheel of your car and/or refrigerator if your goal has to do with the acquisition or reduction of certain foods. You could buy good, supportive walking, running shoes or gym gear if your goal has to do with exercise.  You might sign up a workout buddy to assist you with your goal.  Even telling someone of your project helps as it becomes a public statement that tends to enhance chances for success. You could spend 5 minutes each day visualizing you being successful in your goal.

EXAMPLES of SABOTAGING THOUGHTS/BEHAVIORS:  You might try to convince yourself that you are just too busy to practice progressive relaxation exercise if stress reduction is your goal.  You might drive past your favorite fast food site rather than pick an alternate route if your goal is to increase eating only foods prepared in your own kitchen.  You could sabotage any program by allowing the "little voice" in your head to tell you that you are not worthy of the change.  Get the idea?

Any behavior change requires reminders to aid your success.  Make a list of where you will post your reminders and what they will say in your JOURNAL.

Any behavior change requires little rewards you or your partner give you to aid your success.  One per week will do for the first two weeks, then a slightly bigger one for the finale.The little rewards could be as simple as a "Thinking of You" or encouragement card mailed to yourself or by a partner or a game someone agrees to play with you if you are successful for a week.  A larger reward could be a movie or dinner "out".  Rewards should not be saboteurs that hurt your progress however.

Step 4  Project Activity: 

This phase of the PROJECT involves actually carrying out the goal for three weeks and keeping a daily JOURNAL of your progress. Be sure to include activities that helped or blocked your success.  Once a week, write a summary of your progress and be sure to state the reward you gave yourself if you were successful.

Step 5  Project Evaluation  (FINAL PROJECT PAPER)      

This phase of the PROJECT incorporates writing about the 6 pieces listed below (2-3 pages) The purpose of this STEP is to bring all the information you have collected and learned into one place.

1.  Summarize your health plan and the health principles it represented.  Include how you applied the 50% rule.  Be sure to discuss how you changed your issue statement that may have been negatively worded to a positive goal statement with all three components required of goal statements.  Also include how your pro and con score worked for or against you.

2.  Describe the experience of trying to accomplish the goal.  This area should include a summary of your daily JOURNAL entries and the weekly progress notes.

3.  Thoroughly summarize the information you learned from each of your research resources including your one week baseline research. 

4.  Describe what this experience taught you about yourself.  To do this, you may want to reflect on your saboteurs and the power they had over you.  Also consider what effect acting on the thoughts/behaviors that you thought would help your progress toward your goal.  Did the little rewards help you or did you consider them "silly" and not take them seriously?

5.  Discuss what you learned about making a health behavior change.  Do you think you will try another in the future?  Did you find anything you might like to do differently when trying to change health related behaviors in the future?

6.  Indicate whether you thought this project was worthwhile and why or why not.

Formatting Your Project Paper (UPLOAD TOTAL PAPER IN WEEK 13)

This is the easy part if you read this far.  This paper seems difficult but, if you follow my directions here, it is really quite simple.

The majority of your project will be CUT and PASTED directly from your JOURNAL.  That is why I am having you keep your notes there.  Here is the simple directions for that. 

All you have to do is have your word processor open next or beneath your class site and CUT and PASTE the information from your JOURNAL to your word processor page. 

The requisite components are as follows:

Title page  (APA style)

Body of paper (Steps 1-5)

Resources page (APA style)

I really appreciate students who try to make the grading process simple.  That means that all the important components are easy to find under BOLD headings in a really sensibly organized paper.  If, for instance, a student tries to follow the grading rubric (below) as a guide for most of the formatting, your instructor will be sooooooo happy and even somewhat forgiving of a few errors in punctuation.


You must submit your paper in WORD or .rtf.  I will not accept any other format.  Period.

Thank you


Grading  (126 points total)                                                      

Grading Item





STEP 1                                                                                              DUE 3/15      
Issue statement    Due Tuesday, 2/22
Goal statement in positive terms
Application of 50% rule
Pro/Con list and implications for success
Reasons for your choice
What you hope to learn or achieve
Prior experiences with behavior
Start and Stop dates

How you will determine progress toward goal


Subtotal-------------------------------------------------------------------------       16


STEP 2                                                                                           

4 References properly documented

JOURNAL of baseline behavior for 1 week

Subtotal--------------------------------------------------------------------------    67


STEP 3                                                                                            
List of at least 3 behaviors/thoughts that help
List of at least 3 behaviors/thoughts that hinder
List of reminders/placements
List of possible rewards

Subtotal---------------------------------------------------------------------------   79


STEP 4                                                                                            
Daily report of progress
List of thoughts/activities that actually helped you move toward goal
List of thoughts/activities that actually helped you move away from your goal
Weekly summary of progress toward goal

Subtotal----------------------------------------------------------------------------   95


STEP  5                                                                                              
Summary of health plan
Inclusion of health principles your behavior change project represented
Explanation of how you applied 50% rule
Explanation  of if/how you changed negative issue statement to positive goal
Description if/how pro/con score worked for/against you

Subtotal--------------------------------------------------------------------------    111


Description of the experience of trying to accomplish the goal

Summary of daily/weekly journal entries

For instance, "My weekly journal entries demonstrated ..."; "My weekly progress note showed that I was..."



Subtotal--------------------------------------------------------------------               117


Summary of information gathered from each of the 4 resources used
Summary of baseline week research
Description of what you learned about yourself
Analysis of power of saboteurs
Analysis of thought/behaviors on reaching your goal
Effects of little rewards

Subtotal---------------------------------------------------------------------------   144


Description of what you learned about making a behavior change
Statement of future intentions
Description of what you will/would do differently next time



Value of project to you
Total Score for Project


Formatting Your Project Paper

This is the easy part if you read this far.  This paper seems difficult but, if you follow my directions here, it is really quite simple.

The majority of your project will be CUT and PASTED directly from your JOURNAL.  That is why I am having you keep your notes there.  Here is the simple directions for that. 

All you have to do is have your word processor open next or beneath your class site and CUT and PASTE the information from your JOURNAL to your word processor page. 

The requisite components are as follows:

  1. Title page  (APA style)
  2. Body of paper (Steps 1-5)
  3. Resources page (APA style)

I really appreciate students who try to make the grading process simple.  That means that all the important components are easy to find under BOLD headings in a really sensibly organized paper.  If, for instance, a student tries to follow the grading rubric (below) as a guide for most of the formatting, your instructor will be sooooooo happy and even somewhat forgiving of a few errors in punctuation.


You must submit your paper in WORD or .rtf.  I will not accept any other format.  Period.

Thank you