How to achieve your goals in the New Year. Psychologists called a system that never fails
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Researchers believe that by following these simple rules, we will be able to achieve much more items from the “wish list”.
New Year is the time when it is customary to sum up the past year and make plans for the future. However, to implement all these global plans is sometimes much more difficult than to make a “wish list” for the next year, writes Forbes.
Psychologists believe it may be due to “misplaced energy.” While we may have a good idea of what we want to improve, sometimes we just lack an understanding of “how we're going to get there.” Fortunately, science comes to the rescue.
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Psychologists insist that you should not rely on willpower alone to achieve your goals; aiming for a quick solution to long-standing problems will also not work. However, psychologists recommend creating a system that will help transform the desired behavior into default behavior and then it will become much more likely to achieve our goals.
№1. Goals are high, habits are small
Our desire to “start from scratch” often leads us to set very ambitious goals for ourselves. For example, we tell ourselves that we want to achieve very strict weight loss goals next year. However, the New Year is coming and our motivation often fades – psychologists are sure that the whole point is that our goal was initially very unrealistic.
Instead of chasing a very ephemeral goal to lose weight, it is better to make it a habit 20-minute workouts every other day for the first 3 months. Psychologists advise focusing on something sustainable and effective.
Psychologists are sure that you should start with something minimal – a daily walk or light stretching and gradually build up and strengthen this habit. The main idea is to include the desired behavior in our list of default behaviors. When these simple habits are developed and reinforced, it will be much easier for us to move on to more complex tasks, such as going to the gym or jogging.
#2. The If-Then Principle
Psychologist Thorsten Martini-Henger recommends that another way to develop strong habits is to plan actions on the basis of the “if-then” principle.
In essence, all we need to do is hack the brain's associative architecture and associate the desired behavior with a particular situation. For example, every day before work, we can do 5 squats. This method, of course, does not guarantee attachment to a certain behavior, but it will greatly increase our chances of performing and fixing a certain habit.
No. 3. Goals require superhuman effort, habits automatically
Most of us mistakenly believe that our behavior is caused by feelings and desires, but in fact our daily rituals are connected with habits. This misattribution of “internal state” to what is caused by habits was revealed in a new study by psychologist Asafar Mazar.
According to the psychologist, habits are extremely important in our lives, because they are activated by default, which means we or other actions even when we have no particular desire.
Another study by psychologist Wendy Wood showed that our habits form almost 40% of our daily behavior. That is, we have a wonderful opportunity to automate the desired behavior, developing it into a habit.
According to Mazar, the best thing we could do for ourselves is to reduce the “friction” between ourselves and the desired behavior. For example, instead of simply relying on our willpower to decide to eat healthier, it would be much better to eliminate the storage of “dangerous” foods in the kitchen and replace them with healthy snacks.