Break through the logjam
Katy Milkman was shocked to discover that 40 percent of premature deaths in the United States are due to behaviors that could be changed. So why is it so hard to make a commitment to change even when your life is on the line?
There is a glut of methods for helping you change your habits, set ambitious goals or visualize the best version of yourself. But they often overlook a major factor: your reluctance to commit. Here are some proven strategies to overcome this feeling:
– Combine the unpleasant task you keep putting off with something more pleasant: When you get on the rowing machine in the gym, for example, listen to a captivating audiobook.
– Choose a “penalty” that will encourage you to stick to your goal: Make an agreement with a friend to donate a sum of cash to a charity if you fail to develop such-and-such a good habit.
– Use various types of apps, features and other technologies so you can avoid having to think and decide for yourself. For instance, put some money aside by setting up an automatic transfer to a locked account.
– Help other people change: Playing a mentoring role will empower you and encourage you to follow the advice you give.
You should also feel free to observe your peers and copy their strategies – or, better still, ask them how they do it. They’ll love giving you advice!
by Katy Milkman (Knowledge@Wharton, 4 May 2021).
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