The New Year brings a number of resolutions that span a wide spectrum of personal and professional goals, and motivation in pursuing these goals can be an ultimate marker of success, or failure.
Kaitlin Woolley, an associate professor of marketing and management communication, studies the psychological processes underlying consumer motivation to understand what separates the goals we achieve from the goals that do not succeed.
“Embrace discomfort. Experiencing discomfort can be seen as a steppingstone to getting to that goal that you care about – the key is to embrace discomfort as your goal, rather than avoid it. We also know from exercise studies that feeling discomfort, either during or after a workout, can actually help people stay motivated to work out – gym-goers saw the discomfort as a signal the exercise was working.
“Use categorization. When starting a new exercise plan, categorization is beneficial. Instead of considering a workout regimen as lasting for a month, you should think about it in terms of weeks – this week and next week and the week after. This strategy helps people start the goal and stick with it after it’s progressed.
“Reward yourself early and often. Often people want to set goals that they plan to reward only after attaining that goal, such as buying that dress you really want after achieving your goal to lose 10 pounds. But our findings tell us that reward may be coming simply too late to be effective.”