My physical therapist is constantly telling me to pause during the workday and take stretch breaks to counter act the damage of being hunched over a computer for hours on end. After every visit to his office, I vow to follow his advice, but then life gets busy and before I know it I've forgotten to keep my promise.
So I decided that one of my New Year's resolutions will be to set an alarm on my phone to serve as a reminder to perform simple stretches throughout the day. Keeping in mind that a mere eight percent of people who make resolutions are successful, I began looking for strategies help me accomplish my goal. My search turned up new research about how the perception of setbacks and progress influence achievement of behavior change. According to a University of Colorado, Boulder release:
New Year’s resolution-makers should beware of skewed perceptions. People tend to believe good behaviors are more beneficial in reaching goals than bad behaviors are in obstructing goals, according to a University of Colorado Boulder-led study.
A dieter, for instance, might think refraining from eating ice cream helps his weight-management goal more than eating ice cream hurts it, overestimating movement toward versus away from his target.
“Basically what our research shows is that people tend to accentuate the positive and downplay the negative when considering how they’re doing in terms of goal pursuit,” said Margaret C. Campbell, lead author of the paper -- published online in the Journal of Consumer Research -- and professor of marketing at CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business.
Given these findings, researchers suggest you develop an objective method for measuring your progress and monitor it regularly.
Previously: Resolutions for the New Year and beyond, How learning weight-maintenance skills first can help you achieve New Year's weight-loss goals, To be healthier in the new year, resolve to be more social and Helping make New Year's resolutions stick
Photo by Laura Taylor