How are your new year’s resolutions going?
Yesterday I read a post by an internet marketing guru. He didn’t achieve all of his resolutions for 2010 so in 2011 he has simplified. 4 categories with one main resolution and 2 to 3 sub-resolutions in each.
I used to do this kind of thing but I always failed. I expect most people are the same. Why is that?
When I simplify my resolutions I really simplify. A year ago I decided that I’d be well for the whole of 2011. That was my one and only resolution and I can proudly say that I largely succeeded. Leaving aside my deteriorating body, I was healthier in 2010 than I had been in the previous decade.
It was a funny kind of resolution. We can get caught thinking that ill-health just happens to us and that we have no control. Sure, this is often the case. But as I proved to myself, we make decisions all the time that play a part. As it turned out, my one new year’s resolution contained hundreds of sub-resolutions. Small decisions each day.
My decision for 2011 is to exercise more than in 2010. That’s an easy one to achieve, and I could probably do it in a couple of days. But I’ll carry it throughout 2011 under the pretense that I still have a lot to do, even if I secretly know that I’m already there.
A couple of days ago Graeme Cowan, who clearly knows me too well, sent me a link to a set of slides called the “Top 10 Mistakes in Behavior Change”. It was produced by the very interesting Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University.
#1 Relying on willpower for long-term change
#2 Attempting big leaps instead of baby steps
#9 Seeking to change a behavior forever, not for a short time.
View the slides on Slideshare.
All 10 struck a chord for me, but raised more questions than answers. This is an area that I don’t have expertise in. Not just questions about making life changes for me, but how to design software to help others think about, and instigate, life changes for themselves.
By the way, if you are interested in psychology and technology then you will be interested in their intersection. BJ Fogg, the founder of the Persuasive Tech Lab, has a personal website that is also well worth a visit.