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PAVE Your Way to Success in 2019!

If you’re like many people then you’ll be making New Year’s resolutions and if you’re like most people you’ll break your resolutions within a week or two. According to one study, more than half the people who make resolutions are confident of achieving them, yet barely more than 10% do so.

That’s unfortunate because most resolutions are good! Here are a some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions:

  • Prioritize family
  • Lose weight
  • Begin exercising
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce debt
  • Get organized
  • Stop drinking

The list is admirable so why are these goals so difficult to achieve for 9 out of 10 people? There are probably as many reasons as there are resolutions and dwelling on those reasons would not be as beneficial as giving you scientifically proven ideas that can help make 2019 different from those that came before. I’ll share an influence technique that can help you PAVE the way to success in the New Year.

In the study of persuasion there’s a powerful motivator of behavior known as the principle of consistency. This proven rule tells us people feel internal and external psychological pressure to act in ways that are consistent with their prior actions, words, deeds, beliefs and values. When we act in consistent ways we feel better about ourselves and other people perceive us in a more favorable light.

There are four simple things you can tap into in order to strengthen the power of consistency in your life. These simple ideas will help you PAVE the way to success because they’ll dramatically increase the odds that you’ll follow through on your New Year’s resolutions.

Public – Whenever you make a public statement, whether verbally or in writing, you’re putting yourself and your reputation on the line. The mere fact that another person knows your intention and might ask you how you’re doing is often enough motivation for you to follow through.

Recommendation #1 – Share your New Year’s resolution with another person, or group of people, and ask them to hold you accountable.

Active – You have to actively do something. Merely thinking about a resolution, just keeping it to yourself as some sort of secret, will lead to the same results as people who don’t make any resolutions. In other words, nothing will change. This came to light in a study with a group of students who wanted to improve their college grades. One group was asked to write their goals down, one group kept their goals in their heads, and the last group had no specific goal whatsoever. As you can imagine, the group with the written goals succeeded, with nearly 90% of students increasing their grades by a full letter grade! With the other two groups the results were identical and poor. In each group fewer than 1 in 6 students improved a full letter grade. It’s worth noting, they were all given the same study materials so they all had the same opportunity to better their GPA.

Recommendation #2 – Make sure you have to take some active steps. It could be as simple as buying a book to help you learn more about the changes you’re hoping to make or writing them down.

Voluntary – This has to be YOUR goal, not someone else’s goal for you. If you’re trying to do something – quit smoking, lose weight, get in shape – it’s not likely your motivation will last if someone told you that you have to do it. The goal has to come from you because if it’s forced on you it’s not likely your willpower will last long. Samuel Butler said it best when he wrote, “He who complies against his will is of the same opinion still.”

Recommendation #3 – Make sure it’s something you really want to do of your own free choice.

Effort – It was already noted that you have to actively do something. In other words, making the commitment should require some effort on your part. The more effort you expend setting up your goal, the more likely you are to succeed. Something as simple as writing down your resolution can make a difference, even if you don’t share it with anyone. But, taking the time to share it also fulfills the public requirement, which gives you more bang for the buck! Robert Cialdini puts it this way, “People live up to what they write down.”

Recommendation #4 – A little more effort, like committing pen to paper, will increase your chance for success significantly.

So to recap the four recommendations:

  • Public – Share your resolutions with others.
  • Active – Make sure to take some active steps.
  • Voluntary – Make it your goal and own it.
  • Effort – Commit pen to paper.

None of what I just shared is new but I’m guessing you may not have tried to PAVE the way to success before. If you’ve failed at your resolutions in the past then give this approach a try. If you fail again you’re no worse off but this different approach might just be your key to success in 2019. Good luck and Happy New Year’s!

 

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®, is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. His Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning course, Persuasive Selling, has been viewed 150,000 times! The course teaches you how to ethically engage the psychology of persuasion throughout the sales process. Not watched it yet? Click here to see what you’ve been missing.

 

New Year’s Resolutions – Try A New Approach

If you’re like many people then you made New Year’s resolutions and if you’re like most who did so then you’ll break your resolutions within a few days. According to one study, more than half the people who make resolutions are confident of achieving them, yet only about 10% do so. That’s amazing because most resolutions are good!

Here are a some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions:

  • Spend more time with family
  • Lose weight
  • Begin exercising
  • Quit smoking
  • Quit drinking
  • Get organized
  • Get out of debt

The list is admirable so why are these goals so difficult to achieve for 9 out of 10 people? There are probably as many reasons as there are resolutions and dwelling on those reasons would not be as beneficial as giving you scientifically proven ideas that can help make 2017 a year of positive change for you. Around this time every year I share an influence technique that can help readers PAVE the way to success in the New Year.

In the study of persuasion there’s a powerful motivator of behavior known as the principle of consistency. This proven rule tells us people feel internal and external psychological pressure to act in ways that are consistent with their prior actions, words, deeds, beliefs and values. When we act in consistent ways we feel better about ourselves and other people perceive us in a more favorable light.

There are four simple things you can tap into in order to strengthen the power of consistency in your life. These simple ideas will help you PAVE the way to success because they’ll dramatically increase the odds that you’ll follow through on your New Year’s resolutions.

Public – Whenever you make a public statement, whether verbally or in writing, you’re putting yourself and your reputation on the line. The mere fact that another person knows your intention and might ask you how you’re doing is often enough motivation for you to follow through.

Recommendation #1 – Share your New Year’s resolutions with another person, or group of people, and ask them to hold you accountable.

Active – You have to actively do something. Merely thinking about a resolution, just keeping it to yourself as some sort of secret, will lead to the same results as people who don’t make any resolutions. In other words, nothing will change. This came to light in a study with a group of students who wanted to improve their college grades. One group was asked to write their goals down, one group kept their goals in their heads, and the last group had no specific goal whatsoever. As you can imagine, the group with the written goals succeeded, with nearly 90% of students increasing their grades by a full letter grade! With the other two groups the results were identical and poor. In each group fewer than 1 in 6 students improved a full letter grade. It’s worth noting, they were all given the same study materials so they all had the same opportunity to better their GPA.

Recommendation #2 – Make sure you have to take some active steps. It could be as simple as buying a book to help you learn more about the changes you’re hoping to make or writing them down.

Voluntary – This has to be YOUR goal, not someone else’s goal for you. If you’re trying to do something – quit smoking, lose weight, get in shape – it’s not likely your motivation will last if someone told you that you have to do it. The goal has to come from you because if it’s forced on you it’s not likely your willpower will last long. Samuel Butler said it best when he wrote, “He who complies against his will is of the same opinion still.”

Recommendation #3 – Make sure it’s something you really want to do of your own free choice.

Effort – It was already noted that you have to actively do something. In other words, making the commitment should require some effort on your part. The more effort you expend setting up your goal, the more likely you are to succeed. Something as simple as writing down your resolution can make a difference, even if you don’t share it with anyone. But, taking the time to share it also fulfills the public requirement, which gives you more bang for the buck! Robert Cialdini puts it this way, “People live up to what they write down.”

Recommendation #4 – A little more effort, like committing pen to paper, will increase your chance for success significantly.

So to recap the four recommendations:

  • Public – Share your resolutions with others.
  • Active – Make sure to take some active steps.
  • Voluntary – Make it your goal and own it.
  • Effort – Commit pen to paper.

None of what I just shared is new. In fact, I share a variation of this post every year but I’m guessing many of you haven’t tried to PAVE the way to success before. If you’ve failed at your resolutions in the past then give this approach a try. If you fail again you’re no worse off but this different approach might just be your key to success in 2017. Good luck and Happy New Year!

Useful Tips for Reaching You Goals

In his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi made the case that people are happiest when fully absorbed in tasks they find challenging and that give them opportunities for personal growth.

He calls the state people experience at those moments “flow.” If that term is unfamiliar perhaps the terms athletes use might be more familiar: “in the zone” or “unconscious” or “in the groove.” Flow is a lot like love in that you definitely know when you’re in it because whatever you’re doing seems effortless and time flies by.

Something that Mihaly believes can help people achieve flow are goals. How you view goals can make all the difference in your motivation. For example, if you can’t run a mile without feeling tired then focusing running on a marathon would be demoralizing. However, if you accomplish running a mile, then focus on perhaps going two or three miles, then five, and so on, it’s very likely you’ll stay motivated.

You see, most humans feel a sense of accomplishment when they stretch themselves and do things they’ve never done before. Using marathons as an example, it’s irrelevant for most people that they cannot run the 26.2 miles in under two and a half hours like elite marathoners. What the typical person cares about is the fact that they did something they never thought they could!

A great way to accomplish big goals is to have many little goals, mile markers if you will, along the way, in order to stay focused. A good example of this comes from martial arts. Most martial arts use a belt system that starts at white and culminates in black with as many as 10 belts that must be earned along the way. These incremental belts help people stay focused and motivated. It’s much easier to focus on achieving the next belt than thinking about the three to five years it may take to earn a black belt.

When you set goals there are two ways to feel good about your progress. The first is early on to focus on how far you’ve come, not how far you still have to go. I used to run marathons and when we’d reach points early in the race people usually encourage runners saying, “Way to go, 10 miles down already!” Imagine how a runner would feel if they said, “Way to go, only 16.2 more miles left!” What?!?

Next, as you make progress and move past the halfway point don’t focus on how far you’ve come but rather focus on what’s left. Returning to marathoning, as we got closer to the finish you never hear someone say, “Great job, 23 miles down!” No, they would say, “Great job, only three miles to go!”

You might notice that in each case the key is to focus on the smaller number to feel a sense of accomplishment, remain focused and stay motivated. This thought process applies to getting through college, weight loss, projects at work and just about anything else that can be measured.

I have another tip for goal accomplishment but it takes some guts because it’s puts you on the line. When you set a goal, tell somebody or share your goal with multiple people.

When you share a goal you engage the principle of consistency on yourself. Consistency is the principle of influence that tells us people feel internal psychological pressure and external social pressure to be consistent in what they say and do.

This principle is a powerful motivator because your self-perception is on the line when you make public statements on things like goals. We don’t want other people to see us negatively nor do we want to feel negative about ourselves. That can spur you on to keep hammering away at your goals. For more details on this see a post I called Pave the Way to Success in the New Year.

So there you have it; a few simple ways to get into the flow and accomplish goals that mean something to you.

Goals Gone Wrong

I’m a goal setter. It seems as if most people who succeed in life are goal setters too. After all, without a goal how will you know when you’ve achieved success? Goals give us something to shoot for, keep us on track and allow us to measure progress. All in all, goal setting is a very good thing…most of the time.

There’s the old adage, “What gets measured gets done,” and sometimes we come to realize our measurements got us focused on the wrong activities. Here are a few examples.

About 25 years ago, around the time I started with State Auto, I was a commercial lines underwriter. At the time, a point system was put in place to measure our work. A full day of work was 60 points and various tasks (new business, renewals, changes, etc.) were given specific point totals. People quickly learned how to maximize their points while minimizing their effort. It wasn’t uncommon for someone to announce before lunch that they’d hit their 60 points. That could be accomplished more easily by tackling simple policy changes rather than dealing with new business even though the new business was more important. In other words, we were not incenting the right behaviors for the outcome we wanted.

A personal example comes from me. I used to run marathons and was very competitive with myself. My goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which I was able to do. To reach this goal, I would lay out a 24-week training plan with specific runs every day. Sometimes I became a slave to the plan. If a day called for an eight-mile run at a particular pace I was intent on getting eight miles at that pace come hell or high water. The only problem is sometimes my body was telling me to slow down, cut the miles or rest altogether. Not listening to my body usually resulted in injuries that only served to make reaching the ultimate Boston Marathon goal harder.

So what can you do so your goals don’t go wrong?

  • First, remember why. Constantly recall why you set the goal. This is why plans and strategies have been put in place. Success isn’t following the plan to the letter, it’s reaching the goal.
  • Second, be flexible. Don’t become a slave to the plan because sometimes flexibility can lead to better results over the long haul. (Remember my body telling me to rest.)
  • Third, don’t be afraid of change. If you see the plan is starting to distort the goal or it isn’t keeping you on pace to reach your goal don’t be afraid to change it or scrap it altogether.

Goal setting is good when it’s done right. If you read my post a few weeks ago on how to PAVE the Way to Success, then you know the principle of consistency comes into play when you set a goal and share it with others. As you set your 2016 goals, make sure they are Public, Active, Voluntary and Effortful.

PAVE the Way to Success in the New Year

If you’re like many people then you’ll be making New Year’s resolutions in a few days and if you’re like most people you’ll break your resolutions within a few days. According to one study, more than half the people who make resolutions are confident of achieving them, yet barely more than 10% do so. That’s amazing because most resolutions are good!

Here are a some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions:

  • Spend more time with family
  • Lose weight
  • Begin exercising
  • Quit smoking
  • Quit drinking
  • Get organized
  • Get out of debt

The list is admirable so why are these goals so difficult to achieve for 9 out of 10 people? There are probably as many reasons as there are resolutions and dwelling on those reasons would not be as beneficial as giving you scientifically proven ideas that can help make 2016 a year of positive change for you. Around this time every year I share an influence technique that can help readers PAVE the way to success in the New Year.

In the study of persuasion there’s a powerful motivator of behavior known as the principle of consistency. This proven rule tells us people feel internal and external psychological pressure to act in ways that are consistent with their prior actions, words, deeds, beliefs and values. When we act in consistent ways we feel better about ourselves and other people perceive us in a more favorable light.

There are four simple things you can tap into in order to strengthen the power of consistency in your life. These simple ideas will help you PAVE the way to success because they’ll dramatically increase the odds that you’ll follow through on your New Year’s resolutions.

Public – Whenever you make a public statement, whether verbally or in writing, you’re putting yourself and your reputation on the line. The mere fact that another person knows your intention and might ask you how you’re doing is often enough motivation for you to follow through.

Recommendation #1 – Share your New Year’s resolution with another person, or group of people, and ask them to hold you accountable.

Active – You have to actively do something. Merely thinking about a resolution, just keeping it to yourself as some sort of secret, will lead to the same results as people who don’t make any resolutions. In other words, nothing will change. This came to light in a study with a group of students who wanted to improve their college grades. One group was asked to write their goals down, one group kept their goals in their heads, and the last group had no specific goal whatsoever. As you can imagine, the group with the written goals succeeded, with nearly 90% of students increasing their grades by a full letter grade! With the other two groups the results were identical and poor. In each group fewer than 1 in 6 students improved a full letter grade. It’s worth noting, they were all given the same study materials so they all had the same opportunity to better their GPA.

Recommendation #2 – Make sure you have to take some active steps. It could be as simple as buying a book to help you learn more about the changes you’re hoping to make or writing them down.

Voluntary – This has to be YOUR goal, not someone else’s goal for you. If you’re trying to do something – quit smoking, lose weight, get in shape – it’s not likely your motivation will last if someone told you that you have to do it. The goal has to come from you because if it’s forced on you it’s not likely your willpower will last long. Samuel Butler said it best when he wrote, “He who complies against his will is of the same opinion still.”

Recommendation #3 – Make sure it’s something you really want to do of your own free choice.

Effort – It was already noted that you have to actively do something. In other words, making the commitment should require some effort on your part. The more effort you expend setting up your goal, the more likely you are to succeed. Something as simple as writing down your resolution can make a difference, even if you don’t share it with anyone. But, taking the time to share it also fulfills the public requirement, which gives you more bang for the buck! Robert Cialdini puts it this way, “People live up to what they write down.”

Recommendation #4 – A little more effort, like committing pen to paper, will increase your chance for success significantly.

So to recap the four recommendations:

  • Public – Share your resolutions with others.
  • Active – Make sure to take some active steps.
  • Voluntary – Make it your goal and own it.
  • Effort – Commit pen to paper.

None of what I just shared is new but I’m guessing many of you haven’t tried to PAVE the way to success before. If you’ve failed at your resolutions in the past then give this approach a try. If you fail again you’re no worse off but this different approach might just be your key to success in 2016. Good luck and Happy New Year’s!

PAVE the Way to Success in 2015

If you’re like many people then you’ll be
making New Year’s resolutions in a few days and if you’re like most of those
same people you’ll be breaking your resolutions within a few days. According to
one study, more than half the people who make resolutions are confident of
achieving them, yet barely more than 10% do so. That’s amazing because most
resolutions are good ones! Here are a some of the most popular New Year’s
resolutions: 
  • Spend more time with family
  • Lose weight
  • Begin exercising
  • Quit smoking
  • Quit drinking
  • Get organized
  • Get out of debt

The list is admirable so why are these goals
so difficult to achieve for 90% of us? There are probably as many reasons as
there are resolutions and dwelling on them wouldn’t be as beneficial as giving
you scientifically proven ideas that can help make 2015 a year of positive
change for you. Around this time every year I share an influence technique that
can help readers PAVE the way to success in the New Year.
In the study of persuasion there’s a powerful
motivator of behavior known as the principle of consistency. This proven
rule tells us people feel internal and external psychological pressure to act
in ways that are consistent with their prior actions, words, deeds, beliefs and
values. When we act in consistent ways we feel better about ourselves and other
people perceive us in a more favorable light.
There are four simple things you can tap into
in order to strengthen the power of consistency in your life. These simple
ideas will help you PAVE the way to success because they’ll dramatically
increase the odds that you’ll follow through on your New Year’s resolutions.
Public – Whenever you make a public statement,
whether verbally or in writing, you’re putting yourself and your reputation on
the line. The mere fact that another person knows your intention and might ask
you how you’re doing is often enough motivation for people to follow through.

Recommendation #1 – Share with another person
or group of people, your New Year’s resolution and ask them to hold you
accountable.

Active – You have to actively do something.
Merely thinking about a resolution, just keeping it to yourself as some sort of
secret, will lead to the same results as people who don’t make any resolutions.
In other words, nothing will change. This came to light in a study with a group
of students who wanted to improve their college grades. One group was asked to
write their goals down, one group kept their goals in their heads, and the last
group had no specific goal whatsoever. As you can imagine, the group with the
written goals succeeded, with nearly 90% of students increasing by a full
letter grade! With the other two groups the results were identical and poor. In
each group fewer than 1 in 6 students improved a full letter grade. It’s worth
noting, they were all given the same study materials so they all had the same
opportunity to better their GPA. 

Recommendation #2 – Make sure you have to take
some active steps. It could be as simple as buying a book to help you learn
more about the changes you’re hoping to make or writing them down. 

Voluntary – This has to be YOUR goal, not
someone else’s goal for you. If you’re trying to do something – quit smoking,
lose weight, get in shape – it’s not likely your motivation will last if
someone told you to do it. The goal has to come from you because if it’s forced
on you it’s not likely your willpower will last long. Samuel Butler said it
best when he wrote, “He who complies against his will is of the same opinion
still.” 

Recommendation #3 – Make sure it’s something
you really want to do of your own free choice. 

Effort – It was already noted that you have to
actively do something. In other words, making the commitment should require
some effort on your part. The more effort you expend setting up your goal, the
more likely you are to succeed. Something as simple as writing down your
resolution can make a difference, even if you don’t share it with anyone. But,
taking the time to share it also fulfills the public requirement, which gives
you more bang for the buck! Robert Cialdini puts it this way, “People live up
to what they write down.” 

Recommendation #4 – A little more effort, like
committing pen to paper, will increase your chance for success significantly. 

So to recap the four recommendations: 

Public – Share your resolutions with others. 

Active – Make sure to take some active steps.

Voluntary – Make it your goal. 

Effort – Commit pen to paper. 

None of what I just shared is new but I’m
guessing many of you haven’t tried the PAVE approach before. If you’ve failed
at your resolutions in the past then give this approach a try. If you fail
again you’re no worse off but this different approach might just be your key to
success in 2015. Good luck and Happy New Year to all of you!
Brian Ahearn, CMCT® 
Chief Influence Officer
influencePEOPLE 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.