Make it Easier to Achieve Your New Year's Resolution

Posted: 31st December 2010

Twitter has become an interesting place as the year draws to a close. It's not business as normal but a more inspired and hopeful place.

For the first time I feel as though the majority of my peers are setting goals and resolutions and it's no longer just a source of entertainment for the cynics. My twitter stream is full of links to blogs containing top tips for just about everything I could possibly imagine to help me with any kind of work or life goal for 2011.

Behaviour change is my business and it's what I know best so I wanted to share a thought with you as the big night draws closer, my little contribution to the process.

When we set a resolution, we think we will always feel about it as we do right at that moment. We don't appreciate that our drive and motivation won't remain constant, but it will ebb and flow over time. When you are quite simply overflowing with positivity about your New Year goal is the time you need to put something into place to help you with those moments when you don't feel so motivated.

Shawn Achor, in his book "The Happiness Advantage", describes wanting to dedicate time to learn to play his guitar. He planned to practice every day for 3 weeks but failed miserably because for some unknown reason he could barely find the effort to take the guitar out of the cupboard and practice.

He set himself the same goal again, but the second time around he left his guitar on a stand in the middle of the lounge, thereby saving himself the 20 seconds or so it would have taken to get it out of the cupboard. He succeeded.

Often, even when we have a goal we really want to achieve, we find it hard to motivate ourselves on a day-to-day basis to overcome our "activation energy", the energy it takes to get started. Even just a few fewer seconds of effort can make all the difference.

So my question for you this New Year is how can you lower your activation energy? How can you make it easier to take the first step out of the door to go jogging? How can you make it easier to call in the gym on the way home from work? How can you make it easier for you to drink more water during the day? How can you make it easier to go to bed early? Whatever your resolution, what can you do while you are highly motivated to make it easier for you to stick to it when you aren't.

Happy New Year!




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