So here we are, another year gone, Christmas is less than one week away, and I am sure you are all starting to think about your ‘New Years’ Resolutions’ for 2015 right?
We all have good intentions for the soon to come New Year, but how often are they accomplished, and do you actually maintain your goals throughout the year? How often have we promised ourselves that we will lose some weight, go to the gym more, get a new job, increase our sales, spend more time with the kids or something else?
Studies have proven (and I am sure you would agree too) that we all pave the way for amazing goals in the New Year, only for February/March to come around and we are stuck in our old ways. But apparently we are just going about it in all the wrong ways!
The secret to setting goals, and achieving them is something behavioral psychologists call “implementation intentions”.
One particular experiment proving this actually works, took a large group of subjects who had good intentions in the New Year, and split them into 3 groups. The first group was the control group (no input), the second group received educational materials, and the third group had to fill out a form as an “implementation intention”, which looked something like this:
“During the next week I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on (day or days) _______________ at _______________ (time of day) at/in (place) _______________”.
91% of the group that filled out the form, actually exercised. Compared to 29-39% of the other groups. Impressive huh?
According to Peter M. Gollwitzer, a psychologist at New York University who’s been studying goal achievement since about 1980, this strategy works because the intention statement doesn’t just go into specifics about the goal, it explains the what, when and where- so you are better placed to achieve it.
So give this a try when making your New Years’ resolutions, don’t just write down the goals…try writing an “implementation intention” like the one above so you have a plan to work from. Include some “if and when” statements too. This can be translated to personal and work related intentions for the New Year too!
Happy Christmas, New Year…and all the best with your 2015 goals!
Content and inspiration for this article was based on “Your New Year’s Resolutions Will Fail (Again) – Unless You Do This” by Stephen Meyer. If you would like to read the full article, the link is below.