Completing some updates recently made me think about Manuals. These are often used in therapy – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)  to name just two.

It is easy to dismiss Manuals – if only for the simple reason that Manuals cannot reach all people, all the time.  That does not mean that manuals – simply an organised ways of doing things – have nothing to offer. 

It’s a question of working out what will work for you.

Can ‘manuals’ help you?

…. with the design and direction of your experiments: they might do; if only because there may be a MY-NUAL that you can write for yourself.

This web site contains some suggestions and you can add your own elements. Does the ‘map’ of the scenic route offer some ideas? It may help to describe the journey you want to take, and some of the likely obstacles you will meet on the way.

Some of the safe experiments included in the rest of this website can be adapted and changed by you over time. There is a page ‘categorising’ potential safe experiments and there is an account of how to develop small steps to create small victories, or face up to small defeats. 

So why not construct your own MY-NUAL from them.

Let’s start with a free offering: something to help with recording safe experiments and their outcomes. There are two approaches I want to offer here.

First: when you are deciding how to design a safe experiment, describe briefly, and in writing, an aspect of your behaviour that troubles you:


What I would do now/before: that is, describe the troubling actions you tend to use and some of the unhappy results you’d get.


What I might do next time:


What I did this time

LOOK AT THE RESULT and re-consider:

What I’ll do next time: changing the plan just a little bit:

THEN DO IT again, noticing, in writing, what happens.

LOOK AT THE RESULT and re-consider:

What I’ll do next time: changing the plan just a little bit:

The posh word for this process in ITERATION.  It means just do it, revise it and do it again until you want to do it no more!!

Second: a more complicated line, but it might help.

An ABCDEFG of Recording

…. one that systematically record things. Challenge: can you get it on a Post-It!!



What happened beforehand to prompt you to consider an experiment at all?


What was the focus of your experiment; what did you DO, or are you doing now?


What were the results of your behaviour? What happened? For example, just notice, and record, your thoughts, feelings and sensations arising during and after the experiment?

 Dispute with yourself

What were the

Small Victories: helpful things about any experiment you designed and implemented.

Small Defeats: unexpected or unhelpful results that you noticed.

What did you conclude from these results? Do they match what you already know, or contradict?

Your Evidence

For your conclusions?

Against your conclusions?

….. leading you to consider doing something differently?


Work on planning ‘something different’ through SMART objectives: that is, statements that are:

Specific (if necessary, to a date and a time: a concrete target)

Measurable (Here, the SUDs and VOCs help. No need for a ruler!)

Reasonable (achievable)

Action-based (‘do-able’)

Time bounded (you will know whether they have happened, or not)

and finally …….

GO again. Repeat the process making more small changes as you proceed!!!

 … oh, and by the way:

Good luck with designing your experiments

Further lines of enquiry

Back to: Welcome to Your Nudge

How to give yourself a nudge

Designing a safe experiment

Obstacles to safe experiments

Even more obstacles!!

Reviewing results you generate

Thinking about your own ending

Making new meaning

Can I use safe experiments to help others?

An index of all pages on Your Nudge

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