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What is self-monitoring

What is self-monitoring

Self-monitoring is a personality trait that involves the ability to monitor and regulate self-presentations, emotions, and behaviors in response to social environments and situations.

  • It involves being aware of your behavior and the impact it has on your environment. It also refers to your ability to modify your behaviors in response to environmental, situational, or social variables.
  • People who are high in self-monitoring are more likely to change their behavior in order to adapt or conform to the situation.


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While people tend to be high or low self-monitoring in general, self-monitoring may also vary depending on the situation.

Some signs of self-monitoring include:

  • Saying things at social gatherings to garner attention or approval from others
  • Putting on a show to entertain others
  • Finding it easy to imitate the behaviors of others
  • Looking at other people in social situations to figure out what to do
  • Seeing advice from other people about what to think, say, wear, or do
  • Changing opinions to win the favor of others
  • Adopting different behaviors depending on the people or situation


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Self-monitoring can be divided into two types:

  • Acquisitive: This type of self-monitoring is to acquire attention and approval from others. It involves assessing the reactions of others and altering behavior in a way designed to help the person fit in or to garner attention, status, or power.
  • Protective: This type of self-monitoring is intended to protect the individual from the disapproval of others. People will monitor the situation and reactions and then modify their own behavior in a way that will be approved by the group. The goal of this is to prevent embarrassment and rejection by others.


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Uses for self monitoring

Uses for self monitoring

Self-monitoring is something that people tend to do naturally, but it is also something that you can work on applying to different situations.

Some ways that it may be useful include:

  • Changing a specific behavior
  • Improving self-awareness
  • Developing greater awareness of other people
  • Improving interpersonal skills
  • Gauging the impact of your behavior on a situation
  • Figuring out how to behave in a competitive environment
  • Noticing symptoms that may require treatment

Monitoring interventions can be effective for targeting and changing behaviors.

Also improving emotional awareness in people with depression.


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Impact of self-monitoring

Impact of self-monitoring

High-self monitors are good at adapting to the situation and getting along with others.

  • people may self-monitor because of social anxiety, and feel more self-conscious
  • For people who have an extraverted personality, monitoring the self serves as a way to interact with others and adapt to different social situations.
  • Hypervigilance can sometimes make it difficult for people to relax and be themselves when interacting with others and can often increase the amount of anxiety the person is feeling.


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Using self-monitoring to change behaviour

Using self-monitoring to change behaviour

If you want to use self-monitoring to change your behaviors, there are things that you can do to identify, measure, and evaluate your own behaviors:

  • identify a target behavior: Pick a specific behavior that you want to monitor and change.ย 
  • Choose a way to record behaviors: Mentally noting these behaviors is one way to increase awareness, but writing them down can also be useful.
  • Set a schedule: Continuous self-monitoring is possible in some cases, but it may be more realistic to set a schedule where you check in with yourself and write down your measures for that time period.ย 


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I'm passionate about helping people live their best lives. I'm a lifestyle coach and fitness trainer, and I also write and take photographs. Check out the link below for more and follow me on twitter!

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