Earlier this week, a friend of mine asked me what, as a psychologist, I thought we could do to ensure that the commitment to action stirred up by the presidential election results doesn’t fall by the wayside. I answered her quickly but the question lingered on my mind. I think there are a few general strategies anyone, regardless of the issues close to their heart, can use to maintain accountability and action over time and effect change for midterm elections in 2018 and the next presidential race in 2020.
Front-loading your year with a set of promises to improve is not a winning strategy. And it’s not because people aren’t capable of change, either. It’s that the psychology of the New Year’s resolution is not compatible with the way people make difficult transitions:
- It happens immediately following the holidays, when people are re-entering a regular work routine, may have just had emotionally charged family gatherings, and likely gained a few pounds from uncharacteristic eating and drinking.
- It happens during a time of year that for many of us is cold and dark.
- The focus on making the new year a good one may lead people to craft overly lofty or unwieldy resolutions that are difficult to achieve.
From research on habit formation, motivational design, and willpower, we can extract a few characteristics of resolutions that work. They are: Continue reading Remake Your Resolution Strategy