Reflecting on their actions in the future, we tend to neglect the constraints that the future will bring.
And so each time. Year after year, each time with a great deal of confidence we choose goals that we will strive to achieve in the next year. Next year we will eat better more to go to the gym, won't check email before bed. Why we have high expectations from ourselves?
Burden of conscience went
All the promises are mine.
To break them is no more difficult
Than to burst bubbles
To understand why next year looks so promising, it is useful to consider why the promises of last year, remained unfulfilled.
Of course, at any time, we will start our day with a nutritious and delicious Breakfast smoothie.
But who has time to clean it mango or washing the blender? Yes, it would be great to hit the gym on the way home from work. But who wants to lug a bag to the gym to work? Yeah, there's nothing better than an evening relaxing! But as to whether everything is ready for tomorrow's presentation? The problem set for this year goals that their limits are always annoying momentary reality.
And fortunately, or unfortunately, this momentary reality rarely comes to our mind when we plan for the future. In our new study, which will soon appear in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, shows that the prospect to turn the page of the calendar is already helping planning to forget the obstacles that limit its aspirations. Goals look more attractive on the other side of the calendar.
In one of our research by July 31, we asked a group of people are going to go on a diet, to imagine that from tomorrow they will start to eat better. They recorded them coming to mind thought, and we divided their responses into categories. We looked at whether their thoughts are with the achievement of the desired result or constraints to achieving goals.
Thoughts like "I have more energy" and "I want to lose weight" fall into the category of results. Thoughts such as "mango hard to clean" and "I hate washing the blender" fall into the category of obstacles.
Half of the subjects, we employ the concept of week days and not in months, implying that "tomorrow" will be this week. In this case thinking about the results was less than thoughts about the obstacles. For every two thoughts about the results accounted for almost three thoughts about the limitations. With the other half the subjects of "tomorrow" was designated as the "first of August", which implied the beginning of a new month.
In this case, the subjects came up with much less of an obstacle. For every two thoughts about the results accounted for only 1.2 thoughts about the obstacles. If thoughts of the following day as part of a separate time period helped to fade the doubt settled on the diet of the people. They did not deny the existence of a doubt, just these doubts came to a head in the first place. Why so?
Psychologists have long known, thanks to the work of Lieberman, Nira [Nira Liberman] from tel Aviv University and Jacob Troop. [Yaacov Trope] from new York University that targets look different, depending on the order they are placed in the near or distant future.
Three months ago, reserving your vacation in your head, chances are you've scrolled abstract thoughts such as "time for family", "relaxation" or "adventure". Before leaving you, most likely, had more mundane problems: "how it will all fit in the suitcase?" and "will I find a taxi at 4:45 in the morning?" People are thinking about more distant goals more abstractly.
Just as they approach they begin to think about them specifically. Our study showed that if the target is located on another page of the calendar, it seems that she is in a more distant future.
To determine whether it affects people's plans, we conducted another experiment, on Tuesday, at the end of February. We asked people who intend to go on a diet, to talk about their expectations about the upcoming diet every day, from Wednesday 27 February until Tuesday 4 March. Some subjects were given a calendar with dates and the other days of the week.
Participants who worked with the dates, few were waiting for 27 and 28 February, but from March 1, and following days, their expectations were high. On the contrary, participants who worked with days of the week, little was expected from the first four days, Thursday to Sunday, but for Monday and following days, their expectations have increased. What will be considered the beginning of a new period and a new opportunity, depends on perspective.Which of these changing perspectives can be concluded?
Well, there's always a new opportunity to start all over again? Or bad, there's always a new opportunity to save changes? There is no simple answer. It all depends on the conditions in which you expect the future people look to the future.
We recorded one of the possible dangers of changing perspectives in the final study, which studied how people use passes to the fitness club.
The study was conducted in Switzerland, where Dr. Hennecke [Dr. Hennecke]. As a reward for participating in the survey, participants played the lottery one out of ten passes for popular Swiss programmes maintain the health of eBalance. It is something like Weight Watchers in the USA (products and services for getting rid of excess weight – approx. transl.). It's a paid service trying to help people lose weight by providing a calorie count, work with a mentor, tips on diet and other forms of support. Season tickets cost $78.
After a survey conducted in mid-August, we asked participants to choose the start date of classes if they will win the subscription. Regardless of their choice, subscription ended on 30 November. Half of the participants were asked to choose the beginning of the course through one or two weeks. In this case, 60% of people chose the early start. The other half has suggested the same schedule, but gave two specific dates: August 25 or September 1. In this case, only 40% of the participants decided to start the first day possible. The prospect of starting classes with a new month so they are attracted to, that people refused additional weeks of valuable programs.
While we can only say that the loss of the week was "potentially" dangerous. We don't know how the participants behaved in the long term. It is possible that those who waited for the 1st number, starting was easier. In the future, it might be more profitable, if only they will not stop the limitations, which they are not provided in advance.
A question that the search continues for the answer – how to use this phenomenon to encourage the beginning of change and to support their continuity. It is very difficult to overcome the inertia of inactivity, or bad habits, but the positive expectations of "next week" "next month" or "next year" can help people not to stop.
Indeed, researchers have found that people do, at least, the first step to a new life. Have a search on Google information associated with health, peak on Mondays, while the peaks of visiting gyms have at the beginning of the month, week, year and expressed in other time periods. Missed the bus this week – whatever will come next.
The problem is, to help people not to quit their activities after the first steps.
By definition, the time, the search connected with health and attend gyms experience the highs in early time periods, after that they become less. These results may reflect the bad news.
Expectations of the new time periods are high, because people don't think about possible restrictions. In the long term this can lead to problems, since people are unlikely to succeed in achieving long-term goals, if you can't adequately plan for overcoming the obstacles they will face.
Psychological resilience: How to learn not to breakALL can spoilImagining goals for 2017 do not forget that "next year" eventually becomes "current", and he will bring all to the same restrictions.
Take advantage of the fact that next year seems more favorable, but make solid decisions that take into account your limitations. Don't just decide to eat better, sign up for cooking classes. Just don't promise to visit the gym more, sign up for a course of training that is compatible with your schedule. Don't promise to abandon reading email in bed, make sure that your wi-fi off at a certain time.
If you have something does not work, don't save it all for 2018. Aim for next Monday.published