Georgetown University

Life Style Management and Personal Improvement


Survey of System Thinking

The purpose of this survey is to examine the type of change you have introduced or plan to introduce in your lifestyle.  In the first step, you describe the change and in the remaining steps you answer a series of questions about the change.  The survey scores can be used to classify the change.  The higher the score, the more likely that the change is a systemic environmental change.  The higher the score, the more the likelihood of a structural change in your lifestyle.  The lower the score, the more likely that the change requires more personal effort and motivation from you.

Evaluating Possible Changes

Step 1: Start with the resolution you want to accomplish.  Then describe the change you have or will introduce in order to achieve your resolution.  Give as much details as possible regarding why, what, where, who so that someone not familiar with you can read the description and understand how your environment or life routines have changed (see sample examples). 



Step 2: Check any response that applies to the idea

1. Focuses on factors that precede and affect relapse into unhealthy behaviors


12. If done today, it will affect my behavior in the future, not today. The effect of the change on my behavior is delayed.


2. Does not rely primarily on my personal motivation


13. Leads to desired outcomes through other tasks and activities.


3. Changes me indirectly by changing my environment


14. Involves a physical change in my environment


4. Once the change is done, it stays done.  No need to make the change again the next day.


15. It enables me to have more time or other resources in order to keep up with my plans


5. If it fails to affect my habits, no one is to be blamed.


16. Changes who I socialize with or how frequently I see my friends


6. If it fails to affect my plans, no point in trying again, harder and with more commitment.


17. Affects others who live with me, even though they may not need to change.


7. If it fails to work, it is not an indication of my commitment.


18. Changes what I do for fun & entertainment


8. It does not rely on my memory.


19. Leaves me no choice but to keep up with my plans & my resolution. 


9. Affects my behavior indirectly, through other events or circumstances


20. Changes activities or behaviors of a group of people not just me.


10. It is a change in a reoccurring life routine such as commute, sleep patterns, house cleaning, personal grooming, etc.


21. If it fails to work, it gives me new insights about what I need to do next.

11. Requires more than one person to bring it about  

22. Rearranges the sequence or the nature of my daily living activities (e.g. commute, sleeping, bathing, etc.)




This page is part of the course on quality, lecture on personal improvement.  For more information contact Farrokh Alemi, Ph.D.  Copyright 1996. Most recent revision 01/19/2021.