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+ - The Science of Successful New Year's Resolutions

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Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Lauren Sommer writes that changing behavior is no easy task, but Stanford Professor B.J. Fogg has developed a new technique: Don't worry about abstract goals, instead, focus on creating “tiny habits.” What’s a tiny habit? "I used to play ukulele a lot. But I stopped practicing for a while," says Fogg. "To get back into it I thought I’m going to create a tiny habit of just practicing this cord sequence. I set it right by the piano so right after I finish breakfast I go pick the ukulele up. That’s what a tiny habit is. It’s a very little thing that you sequence into your life in a place that makes sense and you work to make it automatic.” Abstract goals don’t work, when they aren’t tied to specific behaviors and to retain new behavior, it needs to be instinctual. The more you have to remember to do something, the better the chances are that you’ll talk yourself out of it. For example, instead of promising yourself to floss all your teeth every day, Fogg says to start with flossing just one tooth. Next, find a habit you already have and do your new habit immediately after the old habit. “For me and for most people, brushing your teeth is a solid habit. So that can serve as a trigger for the new behavior you want.” Then, reward yourself. “You declare victory. Like I am so awesome, I just flossed one tooth. And I know it sounds ridiculous. But I believe that when you reinforce yourself like that, your brain will say yeah, awesome, let’s do that.” Fogg, the Director of the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University, says if you make the new behavior a pain, a nuisance, an obligation, or in anyway negative, then you won’t be forming a habit. "We humans are wired to avoid the negative stuff. The habit forms as quickly as you have repeated, positive associations..""
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The Science of Successful New Year's Resolutions

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