New Year, New You with the Premack Principle

How to keep your New Year’s Resolution using the Premack Principle.

Hey gal pals. Happy New Year! If you’re anything like me you have probably made a HUGE list of resolutions like going to the gym 3x a week, read 1 book a month, organize the house, eat healthier, etc. It is day 4 and guess how many I have stuck to?

Why is it that I can implement behavior programs on my client’s, but I can’t seem to do it on myself? I get frustrated AF with myself every f-ing year because I can’t stick to any resolutions. Well I think I have FINALLY found the trick to sticking to it…


You all know what that is, but I will still define it in my own way. Premack Principle is the idea that you can use a high probability behavior (something you do A LOT and enjoy the hell out of) as a reinforcer for a low probability behavior (something you hate to do).

Example: Megan needs to study for her BCaBA exam. She plays Sims 4 all night after work. Using Premack means that first Megan studies for an hour for her exam then she can play Sims 4.

By using the Premack Principle, the chances of sticking to my New Year’s resolutions are much higher. I first thought of the behaviors I enjoy/do a lot. My list was: playing Sims, watching Bravo, watching Netflix, shopping at Barnes and Noble, and eating ice cream. Next, I thought of my resolutions which were go to the gym 3x a week, organize my house (room by room), make dinner 5x a week, study 1 hour each night, and read 1 book a month throughout this year. Below is the chart I developed to help myself to keep track of each behavior.

premack principle

This chart lays out each behavior and allows me to check off after I have completed it. If I don’t complete the goal I cannot access the fun AF side.

By printing this out and putting it on my fridge I *hopefully* will stick to my resolutions. If you want to use my super simple chart, go for it but please post a pic and tag us so we can see it in use!! Also here is another way to learn how to shape your behavior using fun examples.

Have any other suggestions to help me stick to my goals for the New Year?  Comment below!

By Megan

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