Self-improvement is one of the promises that we always make in the new year. The types of self- improvement are usually various activities such as exercising and reading. The desire to grow into a better person makes us set goals. Realizing a complete transformation is definitely difficult, but if you make a practicable plan for the new year, you will be able to achieve your goal. Psychological counseling expert Amanda Stemen recommends a narrow set of goals for the new year. It’s important to make “SMART” New Year’s goals, which means make your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Even if you make a new year’s goal, the probability of achieving it is actually less than 50%. Therefore, Pharos is going to analyze the causes of failure when it comes to self-development goals and introduce a way to successfully achieve them.
Why do we keep failing to achieve our goals even if we make a firm decision? Why does our big goal for the new year always hit ‘a 3-day hump’? If you approach this from a scientific perspective, you can find the answer. According to Dr. Robert Mauer, our brain hates changing and is conservative. When the environment or behavior around us changes, we accept it as a threat to survival. Therefore, the more drastic and radical the change becomes, the more intense and stronger the resistance of the brain becomes. Achieving your new year’s goal depends on how you use your brain.
The “Small Step Strategy” is a methodology that avoids brain resistance and makes decisions that follow through to the end. The intention is to make very small and light changes so that the brain is not surprised. Neuroscience says that the human brain works more effectively when it receives less information little by little than when it receives a lot of information all at once. For example, instead of deciding to study for five hours a day, you should start studying for five minutes a day. The reason for setting such small actions and goals is to prevent our brains from feeling afraid and under extreme resistance by making our brains feel like they’re developing on their own through the Small Step Strategy. This strategy involves slow changes. However the smaller, the better. This is because small changes gather and lead to success, not failure, and therefore they eventually add up to a big change.
Let’s look at a real example. Ms. A set a goal of exercising as self-improvement. She decided to exercise three hours a day at the gym. However, Ms. A failed to achieve her goal after just three days due to muscle pain. Analyzing the causes of the failure based on the small step strategy mentioned above, it can be seen that Ms. A set too big of a goal from the beginning and made a plan that could not be practiced steadily in reality. In other words, her goal put too much resistance on the brain at once. Then, how could Ms. A revise her goal? She shouldn’t set a goal to exercise for three hours a day, but instead start with 30 minutes a day. If she sets a goal by exercising for 30 minutes a day, the burden she feels will be reduced and the degree of practicality will be significantly increased, so she can successfully achieve her goal.
It is difficult to achieve our new year’s goal only through passion because sometimes we run into realistic problems or get lazy. If we repeatedly fail at our new year’s goal, we can be disappointed and frustrated with ourselves. From now on, let’s try to achieve our goals by using the Small Step Strategy. By practicing a very small plan, you can pursue your own essential changes, not agonistic changes. A life that improves slowly is better than a life that doesn’t improve at all. If you want to become a more mature person, use the Small Step Strategy to achieve your goals.
77th Reporter • JOE YEON WOO • firstname.lastname@example.org
78th Reporter • KIM DA ON • email@example.com