Insightful tips for sticking with our resolutions
I hope that everyone is having a great start to 2023! How are we doing on our resolutions? This seems to be the time of year that our improved habits either begin to take hold or fall by the wayside. I have been thinking about my own resolutions lately, both personal and professional, and challenging myself to not only improve in certain areas but also think about the reasons why some improvements are easier to maintain than others.
I recently came across an interview in Scientific American with some fascinating insights into why we stick to some resolutions but not others. The author, a professor who studies behavioral change, interviewed a social psychologist about setting and meeting goals to make it to the “finish line,” whether that be hitting goals or completing large projects.
The first tip that the psychologist offered seemed a bit counter-intuitive, but after thinking about it, I realize it is a brilliant concept; That is, give advice to someone who is struggling with the same challenge as you. Psychologists have found that in the process of giving advice, we think about our own successful past behaviors, which reinforce our personal action plans for the future.
This reminded me of a tip from a college professor of mine – When trying to understand a complicated concept, try teaching that concept to someone else. I have found that this works incredibly well and I am looking forward to using this “brain hack” to help with this year’s goals.
Another fascinating idea discussed in this interview was the concept of looking back vs looking forward – in other words, how we monitor our progress. The psychologist recommended that at the beginning of a new goal, we should look back at our completed actions to reinforce the commitment to the challenge.
Once we approach the midpoint, we should begin to look forward at the tasks that are yet to be completed – using the motivation we gained from looking back at our successful steps so far.
A final bit of advice shared by the psychologist is to keep it fun. By finding ways to maintain a positive and upbeat attitude about the challenging tasks ahead of us, we take advantage of the intrinsic appeal of immediate outcomes. It is easier to persist in something if we receive positive or enjoyable feedback as we go.
I am excited to see direct sellers – both in the C Suite and in the field – work towards their goals this year. Here’s to looking back before looking forward, helping ourselves by helping others and, most importantly, keeping it fun!
Warmly, David Bland!