Summary: This first article of the new year will help you to successfully complete your resolution. It explain why you should not start with more than one resolution or goal for the upcoming year.
Voor Nederlands, klik hier.
In one psychological study, a group of people where led into a room. The room was filled with a delicious smell of freshly baked cookies. In fact, on the table was a basked with these freshly baked cookies. Next to the basket was a bowl filled with radishes.
The group was asked to do a written test. It was a test you could not pass or fail. It was a difficult test and the researchers just wanted to find out how far participants would get ahead with the test. The goal was to test their persistence.
So the first group was asked to do the test and they could have as much cookies and radishes as they would like to eat.
Next, a second group was led in the same room. On the table the researchers placed another bowl with radishes and a basket with freshly baked cookies. Again, the room smelled of these freshly baked cookies.
This second group was asked to do the same test as the first group. Except, they could have as many radishes as they would like, but they were not allowed to eat any cookies.
Then a third group was led into a clean room without any smell of freshly baked cookies. On the table there were no cookies and no radishes.
The third group got the exact same test as the first 2 groups.
All the 3 groups were given the same amount of time to do the test. Next, the researchers checked how far the participants of the 3 different groups got with their test.
It turns out that the first and the third group had comparable results in how far they got with their test. The second group did not get that far at all. They lagged behind with a considerable amount.
It’s about willpower
The second group had to do their test and in front of them where these delicious smelling cookies. And they were not allowed to eat them while they were doing the test! The researchers discovered that it costs willpower not to be distracted by the cookies while doing the test. And they discovered that your willpower is limited.
The first and third group were able to use all their willpower to do their test. The second had less willpower to do their test and under-performed compared to the other 2 groups. You can read more about this and other psychological studies relating to willpower in this blog.
I can imagine that you have many resolutions this upcoming year in different areas of your life such as your career, your relationships, your health, your finances and any other area. Examples might be to find another job, learn new skills, find a new partner or lose weight.
What to do?
New (years’) resolutions are very similar to setting goals, learning new habits and getting rid of others. It will take willpower to form new habits and reach new goals.
Focus on just 1 resolution or new habit for the upcoming month. If you want to find a new job, quit smoking and start to work-out at the same time, then you’ll have to divide your willpower between these 3 different goals. You’ll have less energy, focus and willpower for each goal. Chances are (and I can speak of experience), that you will fail.
The same goes for choices you’re making on a daily basis. There are just a limited amount you can make. That’s why former president of the United States, Barack Obama had only one suit and tie and Steve Jobs of Apple just had one outfit. Therefor they had not to waste time and choices to decide on what to wear on a particular day.
Choose 1 resolution!
How to succeed with your resolution, or new habit? Perhaps you have many goals for the upcoming year. I advise you to choose just one and work with that one for the next 30 days. Then you can put in all your willpower into that one goal or resolution. And go for it. Start now!
Then track how it’s working. Measure it! Write down how many job applications you sent out, how many business calls you made or what your daily body weight is. And by tracking your results you’ll be able to find out if you’re on track on need to adjust.
Find an accountability partner
What will help is to find an accountability partner. Tell him or her about your goal. You can motivate each other, compare results, help and keep each other on track. I do have an accountability partner and we share on a weekly basis our challenges, our failures and successes. Thanks to my accountability partner, I achieved goals which I once thought were impossible to reach. Find someone who has similar goals and aspirations as yourself.
Celebrate & continue
Did you achieve your goal? Have you mastered a new habit or skill? Congratulations! Tell the people around you about it and celebrate it. This can be by giving yourself a treat or a present. Then, continue with your next goal or ambition.
And wat if it doesn’t work?
Didn’t you achieve your goal? Are you not satisfied with the result?
Perhaps it was too ambitious. Evaluate it. Perhaps you are not ambitious enough (or had to divide your willpower with something else). Park this goal and go for another by following the steps above. You’re an active being and want to grow for sure as well.
What is your resolution?
Mine? Well, I am starting the new year off with a relatively easy resolution. I wanted to learn a new skill for a decade now and this year I am finally committing to it: learning how to type blind. I am sure it will help me to work more effectively so that I have more time for other valuable activities that give me energy.
What is your one resolution and how are you planning to realize it? Let me know in the comment field below. Me and the other readers of this article are looking forward to reading from you!
Thank you for reading up to here & sharing this article with your colleagues, friends or family. And please SHARE this article with your network on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google + by pressing the buttons below so that they can also benefit from this article about choosing just one resolution.
Have you seen an error in this article? Let me know! I am grateful!