Those of us who are members of Weight Watchers should be pretty familiar with the concept of storyboarding*. The idea is straight-forward: draw out step-by-step plans for how a situation will go, and how you’ll respond. This will help you visualize what you’ll be tempted with, and how you are going to avoid the temptation.
A typical example is for Halloween. In the first cell, one would draw a picture of kids trick-or-treating. The next cell would be a picture of the left-over Halloween candy sitting in a bowl on the table. The next cell would be your strategy for avoiding the trap. For example, you might draw a picture of you grabbing an apple. Or taking the candy to the dentist for a candy buy-back program. Maybe throwing all the candy into the trash.
That is a very good storyboard. If you want to storyboard but haven’t done so yet. Or aren’t sure exactly how to do a storyboard, steal that previous paragraph. It’s good stuff, trust me. This can be done mentally, of course. If you think visually, that is a strategy that will work well.
I have to be contrarian, of course. I build storyboards in my head. But those storyboards are exactly wrong. I picture stopping at a gas station, going into the convenience store and grabbing a package of Zingers and a big carton of chocolate milk, and then snacking all the way home. I can visualize each step of the process. The sound of the bell when I open the door. The crinkles of the Zinger’s wrapper. The cold of the milk carton. The sound of the cash register. Hearing the clerk say “have a good day.” And then the feeding frenzy.
This is the kind of thing I have to fight against. Almost every week. Somewhere along the way, I am able to shake the cobwebs out, realize that I cannot give in to those thoughts. I have to rely on an impulse to kick in, to keep me from giving in.
Hmmm… maybe I should storyboard a strategy for dealing with negative storyboarding…* I am sure that there are many other weight loss programs – many other self-help programs – that use storyboarding as a tool. I only have experience with Weight Watchers, though, so I’m gonna stick with that.