In this New Year's season, most of us make new and generally good resolutions: learning a language, signing up in the gym and practicing some sport, starting a diet or spending more time on truly important, rather than urgent ones, along with another list of good intentions that begin with "being more ..." and " being less ..." ; these are the most important objectives contained in almost every New Year list. However, there is something difficult on them ... they are hardly achieved and even push us, with resignation and a touch of black humor, to smile at the end of January in a condescending way when thinking of them as well as how naive we have been once again.
Nevertheless, we should not despair nor think that our will is weaker than the others. As Gollwitzer (1999) wrote in his text "Implementation intentions: Strong effects of simple plans", correlations between intent and behaviors are modest, and the first can only explain between 20% -30% of the variability of the latter. But it is now that new methods come to the rescue. How should a purpose be to increase the probability that we really make it ? How can people become more effective when we truly launch our good intentions? There are several factors that seem to contribute to being successful in this regard: ◦First, it seems that the strength of our intentions, as well as the degree of commitment, influence whether they are subsequently translated into behavior / habits / strong actions or not. ◦ Second, the objectives we formulate in a concrete, precise and challenging way, are better than those that are proposed in generic, ambiguous and even vague terms ("being happier", " bring better", etc.) ◦ Third, formulate objectives in closer terms, becomes much more effective than far and distant targets. Going step by step is infinitely better than going big. ◦ Fourth, it is suggested that the goals are stated in terms of "learning to do something" or "how to make ..." more that in terms of " final results" because we are on the road and do not always know how or when to arrive. ◦ Fifth: apparently, the objectives that are related to "getting something" provide better results than those that are mentioned as "avoid or prevent something."
Once we have properly defined our objectives, we are still under the risk of not achieving them by not knowing how to take the necessary steps . That's when we have an "intention", but what we really need is an "implementation intention". Although the difference is subtle, it is critical to what happens later with our objective.A purpose or an intention have the form "try to get to / reach ... (goal)" but an "implementation intention" is final and pushes us to specify when, where and how we will perform the behaviors that lead to the objective, indicating then, a commitment to respond.
Well, it is now the time to finish this text, leaving to those who wish to do so, determining when, where and how to implement our New Year's resolutions ... Maybe this time we will make it ... but if it happens or not, ¡ Happy 2013 !