Having trouble feeling excited about 2014? Do this...
January the 3rd already, and no time like the present to crack on with our goals for 2014. Previously we thought about 2013 (our yearly review) and wrote down what we wanted to achieve this year.
Now, it's time to take the commitment test. Guess what, the research shows the more you make a public commitment to your goal, the more you're likely to actually do it.
Dr. Robert Cialdini (persuasion guru – worth googling) has found over 30 years of research that commitments are even more effective when they are public. But how could this work? Let me explain.
This time last year I felt like I was spending too much time in front of screens. Don't get me wrong, digital technology is awesome, and means I can spend a day happily working from a coffee shop or sofa. But it can go too far. Increasingly, the first thing I did in the morning was check my iPhone. Not necessary. During the day, I'd often find myself needlessly scrolling through Twitter/Facebook/emails when I could have been doing something - anything - more constructive. Again, it just wasn't necessary.
So myself and my friend Matt decided to deprive ourselves of being 'connected' for a two hour window daily.
Gah - is this possible?
Just switching off for two hours - small steps at first and then we might increase it? Could we do it? No phones, emails, texts, or internet, for two hours daily. After the two hours was up, we could return to looking at interesting pictures of food on instagram, other people's pets on Facebook, or whatever it was we choose to do. Oh, and the other part of our 'digital deal' was to not check the iPhone before breakfast. (I know for some people this will seem ludicrous, but others will know exactly what I'm talking about).
Guess what. Against all the odds (and temptations on the iPhone) it worked. I'm still doing all this - and I feel more present and connected as a result. It's been a revelation, actually.
So how did I stick to this over the course of the year and beyond? By using the public commitment. I kind of felt obliged to keep doing it, because I'd told my friend I would. This is the secret to you doing great stuff this year.
Here are lots of different ways you can do this.
The public commitment
- Enlist a friend to help - your commitment wingman/wingwoman. Dr. Gail Matthews, a researcher in California, investigated goal-setting and sharing. Her study suggests that if you share your goals with a friend and then send them weekly updates, you are 33 per cent more likely to achieve them.
- Make an additional 'monetary' commitment help with your goal? As the Yale University professors say, incentives get people to do things. (That's what I did with my friend).
- Post on Twitter/Facebook. Remember our old pal Doc Cialdini agrees that commitments are even more effective when they are public.
- Use a website to help. Every day for the first month that we didn't follow the digital deal, we owe £10 ($15). We used a cool website called stickK.com (developed by Yale University professors) to help us with this.
- Use a cool new commitment app called Lift and share your successes with the world.
That's all for now. Enjoy making your commitment, and if you'd like to start right away - the final point is you can click on this blog and leave your goal/goals for this year over in the comments section. There you go - right there you've made a great public commitment - Cialdini style - and you're making instant progress.
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