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 design and direct your experiments: they might do.

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. Some of the safe experiments included in here can be adapted and changed by you over time.

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

Let’s start with a free offering for your my-nual: something to help with recording safe experiments and their outcomes. There are two lines I am going to offer here.

First: the easiest ‘line’ to follow – courtesy of some-one I know:

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’ll 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.

Your ABCDEFG of Recording :

Systematically record things briefly. 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?


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.

Tell me your thoughts about the impact of this process on you – see a ‘comment’ section at the bottom.

Return to:

Welcome to Find Your Nudge

How to give yourself a nudge

Designing a safe experiment

Obstacles to safe experiments

Even more obstacles!!

Can I use safe experiments to help others?

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