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Why productivity hacks and resolutions fail

Going against our nature

Change is easier when we play our strenghts, but is going to be hardest when we are not committed and when it involves going against our nature. 

A hack that promises to help us can’t when it depends on us having to unlearn our deep-rooted patterns of adapting. That’s why playing to our strengths is much easier, to the point of not requiring much effort at all.

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Why productivity hacks and resolutions fail

Why productivity hacks and resolutions fail

https://www.fastcompany.com/90276565/science-explains-why-productivity-hacks-and-resolutions-are-practically-destined-to-fail

fastcompany.com

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Key Ideas

New Year's resolutions fail

80% of New Year’s resolutions are broken within two months.

And these tend to concern habits or behaviors we are actually determined to change. So much so that they are often recycled year after year.

Wanting change vs. wanting to change

Most people don't really want to change, they want to have changed.

When people profess a clear desire to change, that usually means they are interested in change as an outcome rather than change as a process. 

Personalities and change

Our personality constrains our ability to change, limiting our likelihood of replacing old habits with new ones

This is not to say that people can’t change, but they either become exaggerated versions of their earlier selves, or follow a common maturity curve that makes them less open to new experiences. 

Change and our environments

The mere thought of change is threatening and frightening, which is why we gravitate toward the familiar and are generally happier with the devil we know. We make our environments as predictable as possible

Going against our nature

Change is easier when we play our strenghts, but is going to be hardest when we are not committed and when it involves going against our nature. 

A hack that promises to help us can’t when it depends on us having to unlearn our deep-rooted patterns of adapting. That’s why playing to our strengths is much easier, to the point of not requiring much effort at all.

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Lack of Willpower

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Poor Support Structure

Behind every successful person is a positive and reinforcing social structure.

Surround yourself with positive, reinforcing characters who want you to succeed and buy into your long-term happiness and fulfillment.

Unrealistic Expectations

If you are 50lbs overweight and give yourself five weeks to get ripped abs or tight buns, you are quite simply setting yourself up for failure.

This body is achievable, it isn't going to happen overnight, but if you set yourself a goal and motivate yourself it is achievable. 

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Self-Control

 ... is the ability to regulate and alter responses in order to avoid undesirable behaviors, increase desirable ones, and achieve long-term goals.

Research on Self-Control
  • A 2011 survey found that 27 % of respondents identified a lack of willpower as the primary factor keeping them from reaching their goals. 
  • One study found that students who exhibited greater self-discipline had better grades, higher test scores, and were more likely to be admitted to a competitive academic program. 
  • The study also found that when it came to academic success, self-control was a more important factor than IQ scores.
  • A health study found that people who were rated as having high levels of self-control during childhood continued to have high levels of physical and mental health in adulthood.
  • Research has found that self-control is a limited resource. In the long-term, exercising self-control tends to strengthen it. 
Motivation and Monitoring

A lack of willpower is not the only factor that affects goal attainment.

  • There needs to be a clear goal and the motivation to change. Having an unclear or overly general goal and insufficient motivation can lead to failure.
  • You need to monitor your actions daily towards the achievement of the goal.
  • You need to have willpower.

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The Science of Your "Comfort Zone"

Your comfort zone is a behavioral space where your activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk. That provides a state of mental security. 

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Optimal Anxiety

A state of relative comfort created a steady level of performance. In order to maximize performance, a state of relative anxiety is needed—a space where our stress levels are slightly higher than normal. This space is called "Optimal Anxiety," and it's just outside our comfort zone. 

Too much anxiety and we're too stressed to be productive, and our performance drops off sharply.

Making Sense Of Your Comfort Zone
  • Your comfort zone is neither a good or bad thing. It's a natural state that most people trend towards. 
  • Leaving it means increased risk and anxiety, which can have positive and negative results.
  • Don't demonize your comfort zone as something holding you back. We all need that head-space where we're least anxious and stressed so we can process the benefits we get when we leave it.

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