First, here’s what doesn’t work:
By comparing the techniques of successful and unsuccessful resolution makers, he came up with a list of tips for staying the course when making changes in one’s life.
People who failed tended to dwell on the ”bad things” that would happen if they did not achieve their goal, said the professor.
They were likely to remove temptation from their surroundings, adopt role models, fantasise about being successful, and rely on will power.
”Many of these ideas are frequently recommended by self-help experts but our results suggest that they simply don’t work”, said Prof Wiseman. ”Because of the widespread nature of this advice, millions of people will fail to achieve their aims”.
Here’s what those who were successful tended to do:
1) Make only one resolution; your chances of success are greater when you channel energy into changing just one aspect of your behaviour.
2) Don’t wait until New Year’s Eve to think about your resolution and instead devote some time a few days before to reflect upon what you really want to achieve.
3) Avoid previous resolutions; deciding to re-visit a past resolution sets you up for frustration and disappointment.
4) Don’t run with the crowd and go with the usual resolutions. Instead think about what you really want out of life.
5) Break your goal into a series of steps, focusing on creating sub-goals that are concrete, measurable, and time-based.
6) Tell your friends and family about your goals, thus increasing the fear of failure and eliciting support.
7) Regularly remind yourself of the benefits associated with achieving your goals by creating a checklist of how life would be better once you obtain your aim.
8) Give yourself a small reward whenever you achieve a sub-goal, thus maintaining motivation and a sense of progress.
9) Make your plans and progress concrete by keeping a hand-written journal, completing a computer spreadsheet or covering a notice board with graphs or pictures.
10) Expect to revert to your old habits from time to time. Treat any failure as a temporary set-back rather than a reason to give up altogether.
This study was done by Professor Richard Wiseman. He is the author of an excellent book I highly recommend: 59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute.
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