Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Twenty Seconds

Despite my post from yesterday, we still need goals sometimes. And the question becomes how to meet them more often. How do we establish more positive habits in a world in which eighty percent of New Year's resolutions fail?

In a great book about positive psychology, Shawn Achor talks about what he calls the Twenty Second Rule, which helps people maximize the chances of establishing a new habit.

Simply put, the idea is to structure your life so that things that you want to stop doing take twenty seconds longer, and that things that you want to start doing take twenty seconds less. Studies have shown that willpower is something that is in limited supply. The Twenty Second Rule takes advantage of human inertia when trying to change habits.

If you're trying to lose weight, keep all the tempting food further away. Put the snack food in the basement or garage, for example. If you are trying to stop checking email so often, completely close down your email program (or your computer, even) so that you have to log back in when it is time to check it.

If you are trying to exercise in the morning, sleep in your workout clothes. Roll out of bed, put your shoes on and go!

The Happiness Advantage has lots of other useful suggestions, too.


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