Have you ever decided to embark on a new habit but then failed to stick with it?
Think about the typical new year's resolution - exercise regularly, eat healthy, be more organized. If you're like most people, you have committed to change a habit related to at least one of these three things....and some probably more than once!
CHANGE IS HARD
We are creatures of habit. In Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman (Nobel Prize winner in Economics) describes decision-making in terms of System 1 and System 2 thinking. When you act on instinct and intuition, you are using System 1. When you stop and engage in deliberate thought, you are using System 2.
When you do something routinely or out of habit - System 1 takes care of it.
When you are trying to do something new liking creating a habit - you must engage System 2.
I recently heard a lecture given by Barry Schwartz where he provided some illustrations of how System 1 and System 2 work.
When you look at the two lines above, which is longer?
Many people will instinctively say "a" but if you look more closely, only at the horizontal line, you will see that they are identical. Your System 1 thinking says "a" is longer but System 2 can analyze more closely and recognize that "a" and "b" are equal.
Can you tell which of the above tables is larger? Watch the video below to find out. System 1 may tell you that the tables are different sizes. System 2 will watch the video and realize that they are the same.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNERS?
Knowing how hard it is to create new habits, what can you do to quiet the intuition of System 1? How can you set yourself up to succeed with your resolutions? Think about teaming up with a friend or relative. When you have someone to whom you are accountable, they can help you engage System 2 and be more deliberate in your decision-making. Committing to text each other daily is a good place to start.
This is why many people hire trainers, nutritionists and coaches. These professionals help you stay on track and enable you to eventually override your System 1 instincts that may be telling you to hit the snooze button (instead of hitting the gym) or grab the cookie (instead of grabbing the carrot).
Can you identify an accountability partner to help you reach your goals?
Wishing you Happy Holidays and a Happy and Healthy New Year!
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