How motivational science can help make New Year’s resolutions

Ayelet Fishbach is a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. “When people say they are not a good idea, it’s because they see that they won’t last long,” said motivation and decision experts. “If you persist for a month or two or three months, it is better than doing nothing,” she pointed out, citing examples of healthy eating or exercise. “We hope you can find a way to continue doing this until March and beyond, but two months is better than nothing.”

A common mistake is that people think resolutions are “something they would not like to do,” Fishbach said. Behavioral Science Professor And the marketing of Chicago Booth School of Business and the author of a new book, Finish it: amazing lessons from the science of motivationShe said that the mentality is: “I do what is good for me, not what I like to do.” However, this is a problem because it creates an “empathy gap” and people cannot understand their future. Feel. “You need to find a way to pursue your determination. It is pleasant, and that is essentially motivating. People who do this can hold on to their determination for a longer time.”

This is not to say that we should only pursue goals that are immediately satisfying. “It won’t always be interesting. For many important things in our lives, it takes some time to become interesting,” Fishbach admits. On the contrary, there may be a sense of pride or excitement of a runner-but only after a few weeks of trekking in the park.

When others perfected the art of sourdough or DIY during the pandemic, Fishbach’s project is the book. The time for writing motivation is strange. “Like most people,” she wrote in the book, “I am worried, upset, and trying to stay motivated. In the past few months, I have learned to take everything for granted, whether it’s me For my health, my job, my children’s education, or drinking coffee with friends. Although I love my job, I find it difficult to stay motivated.”

The most important message of this book is that there are many factors that influence motivation. Different personalities require different methods. She recommends knowing whether you are going all out (“closer”) or fear of criticism and mistakes is a driving force (“avoider”). Everyone can benefit from more preparedness to overcome goal obstacles and understand how your new goals conflict with other existing priorities-sometimes pulling you in the opposite direction (there is a chapter on goal juggling). Social support for what you are trying to do is also critical.

In Fishbach’s analysis, the goals have a strong motivational effect, but to clarify them requires cleverness. They should be abstract enough to inspire inspiration and at the same time convey action. So, for example, “exploring career opportunities” is not as cumbersome as “reading job postings and submitting applications”, but is more specific than “success.”

In the week when work-from-home was launched in the UK, I talked to Fischbach, and I felt motivated again. It is very necessary for me to ask how people should move on when the pandemic has no end in sight. She is very sympathetic. “We were told that if you were vaccinated and put on a mask, you would stay at home for a while, and then everything would be better. Things did get better, but not everything was fine.” She added, staying right The motivation to move the target is extremely difficult.

In the book, she pointed out that we celebrate the beginning of something—for example, a job or a degree program—and then the end, such as graduation or the completion of a project, but not in the middle. “It is during these ordinary times,” she wrote, “our enthusiasm and motivation are the most difficult to maintain.”

The solution is to look at what has been achieved instead of complaining about the lack of a clear understanding of the future. She said that for most people, anxiety about death has been replaced by concerns about inconvenience. “We have made great progress, but there have been some setbacks. Think about how much you have adapted.”

In terms of staying motivated, giving may be better than receiving. She said it would be helpful to tell another person how you deal with this epidemic. She added: “This is often more helpful than the person who advises.”

Fishbach, who grew up in Kibbutz, Israel, said that loneliness not only damages mental health, but also weakens enthusiasm. “We know that social connection is not only important for happiness. It can also help you get up in the morning and do what you need to do. Many of the important goals we pursue are related to another person or people. When people are sitting alone, They will become less active, less active, less interested in thinking.”

But again, the focus on productivity can undermine motivation. “It’s just that efficient, efficient, and efficient treadmills allow you to start responding to emails, rather than thinking about your priorities. Take a step back and think about your goals. What’s the best way to get there? How do you relate it to you Other things you want to do and who is helping you combine?” There is a sweet spot between letting your thoughts linger and procrastinating.

When it comes to motivation and the popular phenomenon known as the “great resignation,” Fishbach is ambivalent about finding goals at work. She believes that any lack of happiness we do comes down to “more direct” reasons. “If going to the office is not fun, I’m bored, or I’m lonely, I don’t like my colleagues, and there is no immediate reward.”

She pointed out that surveys have long shown that people are dissatisfied with their jobs. “We know that people are unhappy, and it looks like they are doing something now… This may cause people to turn to something that is really better for them.” But we will only know if the next large survey of employee satisfaction shows them Measures have been taken to resolve their unhappiness.

The problem is that when people plan for job transfers, Fishbach says that they usually pay more attention to future salaries and benefits, rather than personal issues that they don’t like in their current jobs. “they said ‘[in] My next job, i [will] Compared with my current job, I don’t care much about doing interesting things with people I like. “This can be traced back to this empathy gap, not realizing that their future self will be the same as their current self.” They didn’t realize that the reason why it is difficult to inspire enthusiasm for the current job will be the same in the next role.

She hesitated about the great resignation. The pessimistic prediction is that people who switch roles will find themselves equally unhappy in the future: “70% of people will tell us that they hate their job.” But if people’s attitudes really change, then future surveys will show a reduction in dissatisfaction.

This will be good news for those whose new goal is to change to a new job in 2022.

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