Keeping New Year’s resolutions – PezCycling news
The New Year is upon us again and for many that means New Year’s Resolutions and then a week later breaking them. Today, bestselling author and avid cyclist Bob Selden shares his advice on how to make resolutions and, most importantly, keep them!
By Bob Selden
Having turned 70 (a few years ago), I decided to get back in shape by cycling more – regularly. I mixed road driving with the indoor trainer and achieved 369 days in a row! Then I met a slight “Bump in the road”, having been diagnosed with cancer. And that too was positive, because as I was in very good physical shape at the time, I was able to be treated with a much higher than normal dose of chemotherapy and I recovered in six months.
Bob getting away from the coach and visiting the sights of the Herault region of France on a previous vacation – great to have a long term plan.
But back to my constituency – how did I get from zero days to 369?
As an organizational psychologist, I knew what most research was saying about setting goals and sticking to them – all great advice. So I used most of the following, with one critical addition. Surprisingly, little is known about this addition, but I think it’s the additive that makes the difference.
First of all, advice from the experts …
Loss aversion: people are motivated to gain back something lost – like fitness – rather than to gain something new. So your New Year’s resolution should be easier to stick to if it focuses on getting back something you once had. Still, while maybe a little more difficult, it’s entirely possible to achieve a new goal or learn a new skill with a little persistence.
Signal and reward: Whether you’re making a new habit from scratch or changing an old habit, decide the signal and the reward. The signal can be a time, place, or feeling, while the reward must be instantaneous. In my case the signal was one hour – 6.30am each morning when I woke up, and the reward was double – recording my time on the bike immediately after I finished and seeing the record grow day by day (that was great to see). ‘get to the first 50 days!), followed by a hot shower and a fabulous cup of coffee. By the way, some studies show that simple habits are formed faster in the morning – researchers believe this may be due to the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which tend to be highest when we wake up. . Adopting the new behavior in the morning might also help.
As part of a long-term plan: rather than short-term goals or behavior changes, try to make your resolutions a step towards a goal. In my case, I wanted to be fit enough to take another cycling holiday in France. And by taking small steps, like 15 minutes a day on the home trainer, I was finally able (on one occasion), to take a 100 km road ride.
Telling someone else about your plan: It gives you an immediate sense of satisfaction – some studies have found that just acknowledging your goal makes it part of who you are and leads to a surge in feel-good hormones / reward. And because your goal is now public, chances are it will make you more honest in your efforts. However, there are apparently a few drawbacks. It depends on who you say. Will they support and encourage you even when you mess up and grab that extra piece of cake, or will they sound disapproving? Choose your confidante wisely.
Finally, the secret additive – the language you use to describe your goal. There are two things – first, express the goal and the steps you are taking to achieve it, in the present rather than the future (as most of our New Year’s resolutions are expressed). For example, instead of saying “I will get back in shape by exercising 20 minutes a day”, to say “I exercise 20 minutes a day”. Apparently, this tricks the brain into thinking that because we are already saying something is going on, it thinks it is. According to research by MK Chen, associate professor of economics at UCLA Anderson School of Management, people whose native languages âânaturally encourage them to express their goals in the present tense do much better.
Bob just a week ago again out for a walk in the HÃ©rault – Resolution held!
The second element of using the best language to achieve your goal is to avoid using the word “but” and replacing it with “and”. According to Dr. Linda Sapadin, author of How to Overcome Procrastination in the Digital Age, those of us who are prone to procrastination tend to focus on a fear of achieving a goal, rather than finding how to overcome fear. And so the fear becomes the excuse – usually expressed with a ‘corn’ declaration. For example, I could say, âI wanted to get on the bike today, but I thought it was too cold. Everything that comes after the “but” is what counts “, Said Sapadin. Change word ‘corn’ at ‘and’. “But” denotes opposition and blocking; “And” stands for connection and resolution, and as Spadin explains, “the task becomes less daunting, the fear less of an obstacle.” So I said âI’m getting on the bike today and it’s cold and I’m going to cover wellâ.
So there you have it – how to make and keep those New Years Resolutions – make sure that your goals are achievable and part of a long term plan, that you have the right signals and rewards, that you talk to people about them. good people and you express it in the present tense. Oh, and don’t forget to avoid ‘corn’ and replace it with ‘and’ when you encounter a potential blockage.
And guess what? I managed to get back to France and have another amazing cycling trip over 20 years after my very first one. This time, I stayed at Hidden House, my son’s bike lodge in the HÃ©rault valley of course.
Bob Selden is an organizational psychologist and the author of âDon’t: How Using the Right Words Will Change Your Lifeâ. He also previously worked as a Sports Coach Coach at the Sports Academy of New South Wales, Australia.