Every year I count down the seconds to the start of the New Year and every year I make resolutions that I do not keep. These resolutions are really just reruns that involve my general desire to spend less, save more, eat less, and exercise more. Boring, but true. As it turns out, I am not alone as studies show the success rates for resolutions are quite low. Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol conducted a study using 3,000 people and found that 88% of those who set New Year’s resolutions failed. Ouch! Albert Einstein once cleverly said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Perhaps it is time for me to try a new approach.
My quest for change began by turning to history books for inspiration. It turns out that the Babylonians would pledge to their gods at the start of each New Year that they would pay off their debts. The gods listened, smiled, and invented a system of “easy” monthly payments. The Romans used to make all sorts of promises to Janus, which is where January comes from, and their empire nearly swallowed the entire planet. Medieval knights made their “peacock vows” at the end of each year to show their commitment to chivalry and their desire for armor that would attract the eyes of the local ladies. It is clear that Babylonians, Romans, and medieval knights were far more practical about their promises than I have ever been. Perhaps the problem is that there are no consequences for me not keeping my resolutions.
To solve my problem, I embraced technology and joined www.stickK.com. StickK offers a platform that helps people to create and honor “Commitment Contracts” by leveraging the power of social media. My first contract involves running the Budapest Spring Half Marathon on April 19th in less than 2 hours and 30 minutes. This means that I have four months to get into reasonable shape. For this contract, I have invited a referee and a whole bunch of supporters to help keep me motivated. If I do not achieve this goal, then I pledge to dance on the bar of a local watering hole in a bikini. Trust me, no one wants to see this happen.
If you are having similar problems with keeping your resolutions, then give www.stickK.com a try. Creating a commitment contract means that you will be three times more likely to honor it than one that carries no consequences and has no visibility amongst your peers. The thought of wearing a bikini in a public place while people are instantly uploading videos of me is a pretty powerful incentive for me to train really hard. I think Einstein would approve.
For more information on New Year’s resolutions, please refer to the following articles:
Tim Ferriss: Most people fail at New Year’s resolutions because there is no consequence, Metro, Vicki-Marie Cossar, January 21st, 2013 (http://tinyurl.com/lcydwym)
New Year’s Resolution, Wikipedia, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year's_resolution)
For more information about the Corvinus Global Business blogger, go to https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinmjackson1.