John's Blog

The Blog of John Gibson, PhD

Resolutions and Change

A new year. A fresh start.

Have you made any resolutions? Many people do. Yet, if the research is to be believed, most people will give up on their resolutions after a month or two.

What can you do to increase the likelihood of success? I'd suggest, at the very least, three things.

1. Whatever the change is, make a list of the payoffs. A thorough, a detailed list. Give some serious thought to this one. Why? Because more benefits equals more motivation. Once you've completed the list, read it often.

2. Find some way to track your progress. These days, there are countless ways to track progress. Web-based tools, iPhone apps, Moleskine notebooks, spreadsheets, whatever. We manage what gets measured. Indeed, some studies suggest that self-monitoring itself is an "intervention" because it provides us with systematic (and hopefully detailed) feedback.

3. Find somebody who will support your efforts. The risk of telling someone about your project is that you'll have to face that person if you fail. But the benefit of support is that it increases your chances of sticking with something, especially if you're trying to do something that is emotionally difficult (i.e., causes you to move out of your comfort zone). We all need encouragement and praise. Good social support is worth its weight in gold.

Happy New Year.