It is a fact that practically all people set new goals and desires for the new life cycle, and deposit their motivation and dreams there. However, only 8% of the population achieves this, according to some statistics. This means that 92% feel at least a little bit disappointed with themselves at the end of the new period.
What happens is thatis not enough just to have the will to achieve the goals,such as what has been analyzed by a team of behavioral specialists from the University of Pennsylvania, among other scientific spaces.
As they have revealed, people are influenced by their environment to, on the one hand, set goals that they believe they will achieve, even though they have not taken enough responsibility and have not made them important to their lives; and on the other hand, everyday reality, which leads them to fall again and again into the same limiting patterns that prevent them from focusing on achieving them.
The authors are psychologist Angela Duckworth, and Professor Katherine L. Milkman (both University of Pennsylvania) and David Laibson, an economist at Harvard University.
Duckworth said that because we live in a world with easy-to-reach environments, people need to reinforce their strategies to increase self-control, which is what allows them to focus on what is valuable to them, and thus, make it happen.
The due date for each December’s goals and objectives is about February 15 of the following year.
The impossibility of making them concrete is based on the fact that, in order to do so, people areforced to renounce ingrained behaviorsa long time ago and that’s exactly what they’re having trouble giving up.
As temptations are often within reach, the majority desist. For example, there is fast food with immediate access if you have the media in most places in the world; or video games on the cell phone that will keep you in your home silln; or instant chats and social networks that, as we know, produce addiction.
This weakness in assuming a commitment to change habits is based on the false belief that proposing it to them achieves it. And the reality is that changing them takes these six steps:
- Propose it to him
- Working in the subconscious (which is where beliefs are stored)
- Transforming the purpose into a thought (which is stored in the consciousness)
- Determine the concrete, daily and permanent exercise that will be done with respect to that chosen objective or goal.
- Continue until the old habit is replaced by the new behavior
- Make it a habit that has been incorporated naturally.
As we see, it takes much more than will power to achieve this, since the strategic point is to make concrete and tangible: that is what marks a new result different from the previous one.
Whether you want to start a diet, quit smoking or incorporate something new into your daily routine, these are the six steps you must take to achieve it.
As it implies effort, dedication, constancy and persistence, the immense majority leaves them soon after their initiation.
In the scientific study the professionals propose an individual framework that organizes certain self-control strategies. Here I share them, along with tools that work because I have personally tested them and with hundreds of clients as their personal or company coach:
- To change the situation, create external aids or obstacles to self-controlFor example, if you are addicted to a cell phone, download an application that restricts its use; or prepare all the healthy food in one sitting to focus on sustaining that commitment and fulfilling it. Or if you want to change recurring negative thoughts into positive ones, you need to train the new thought repeatedly until the old one loses power in your subconscious and is replaced by the new one.
- Activate the brain’s reward centerThe “I’m not a person,” in this case, as you are in the process of changing your behavior, keep in mind the rewards of celebrating your small daily achievements. From taking a shower to taking a nap, anything goes when it comes to showing the inner self that you are on the right track. At the same time, you are asking them to symbolically continue to support you in achieving your purpose.
- Counting on a network of support and containmentWhen you are in a process there will be challenging places to leave. It is just the time to activate your support network, which will encourage you to keep going. For example, if you have set a goal to follow a physical training program because it will allow you to improve your health, you can get a friend to do it together and encourage each other. This buddy figure for changing habits is extremely important for sustaining the commitment over time.
- Draw your Treasure or Success MapCreative Visualization: The tool of creative visualization is extremely powerful in helping to change habits and start working your mind in a purposeful sense (instead of negative, as 90% of people do 90% of the time). In this case, on a large white sheet of paper, cut out a picture of yourself that you particularly like, place it in the center; and, around it, paste images taken from magazines or the Internet of about four or five specific goals that you want to see accomplished. Then, you commit yourself to make a first action (just a small first action), and then another, and another, chained until you see that you are making it concrete.
One key is not to limit yourself to the dream or goal you are achieving, because you don’t need to be totally clear about how you are going to do it: you just need to know that that goal is relevant and a priority for you. Put this collage in a visible place where you can see it every day; take a picture of it with your mobile phone, and carry a printed copy in your diary: in short, you need to put the inner power of your intention to work, focused on that graphic you have created. Move one step at a time on each goal, no matter how small. And in the time frame you have established (another fundamental aspect to measure the result), a great part of those objectives will become reality if you make it important enough from your thoughts, your internal focus and your small actions sustained in time.
Sources of the above-mentioned study:
Beyond Willpower: Strategies for Reducing Failures of Self-Control. Angela L. Duckworth et al. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 13 February 2019. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1529100618821893
Self-Control and Its Discontents: A Commentary on Duckworth, George Loewenstein. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 13 February 2019. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1529100619828401
Facilitator and Master Coach specialized in CEOs, top management, professionals and teams; professional communicator; international speaker; author of 30 books. LinkedIn Top Voice Amrica Latina 2019.
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