As we approach the new year, the Fresh Start Effect will kick in and motivate people towards aspirational behaviour, namely, New Year’s resolutions. Every individual, owing to their preferences, choose resolutions ranging from ameliorating their financial habits to reforming dietary habits, touching each and every aspect of their life, challenging themselves with coming out of their zone of comfort.
Any resolution is born out of the thoughts and in order to achieve it, a foolproof plan of action is necessary. Writing down the plan and then visualising it provides clarity, helps declutter the mind. Research also indicates that visualization of a goal act as a powerful driver.
A study conducted in 2007, which traced 3000 people trying to achieve a range of resolutions, found that only 12 per cent of the participants were able to achieve their goals although 52 per cent of the participants were confident of their success at the start of the experiment.
Another study conducted in 2020 found that people who chose approach-oriented goals were more successful than those who chose avoidance-oriented goals in other terms ‘I should eat green vegetables’ attitude flourished over the ‘I should avoid any kind of junk food’.
The next step is to put that plan into action, which requires consistency, persistence and perseverance.
According to Neil Farber, adjunct Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, people fail at maintaining their resolutions because they choose too many goals which are often unrealistic and difficult to track.
It’s cardinal to pick a specific objective or goal on which to focus. The goal should be measurable and achievable so that any progress made can be assessed and it will provide motivation for sticking to the plan.
The target should be achievable in a sense that it should not be unrealistic. The resolution should conform to your values and overarching ambitions.
Finally, you should create and follow a proper schedule to achieve your goals.
Apart from setting the goal, behaviour plays a great role in helping to tread the path to success. When trying to sustain something, it’s important to make it a part of the life.
Dr. BJ Fogg founded the Behaviour Design Lab at Stanford University to understand the human behaviour and how to design for behaviour change.
According Dr. Fogg’s Behaviour Model, behaviour change depends upon motivation, ability and prompt.
The three elements should converge at the same moment for a behaviour to occur whereby ability represents physical or mental strength, money, time and prompt can be any cue like an alarm. So ultimately any resolution should become a habit in the long run.
Our surroundings, including the people, around influence our thoughts to great extent. A new way of influence culture has evolved in the digital era, whereby these kinds of resolutions have become a mode of seeking validation from others.
So, it’s important to understand the root from where the want of change is coming because at the end of the day acceptance of self is the first step towards other goals. But self-assessment should be construed in a constructive way.
Change is inevitable in nature, but striving for change which is beneficial to our individual and collective growth should be at the very heart of this process. From planning to implementing the SMART goals and finally imbibing them into our habits is a gradual process, which done in a balanced way can take towards the deemed goals.