If you’re New Year’s honeymoon is fading just as fast as your chips on the roulette table, here are seven science-backed hacks on how to plan for perfection.
1. Try something New
New gets noticed.
Novelty is a definite attention-grabber and variety a dopamine creator. Things that are new create a spark.
You don’t necessarily have to purchase something new. Just DO something new. Even watching Netflix episodes to organize your bedroom closet is a spark. (Just make sure you follow the steps below and also locally donate your goods.)
2. Write it Down
Writing things down changes the way information is processed and stored in our brain.
And specifically — handwriting.
So grab that old pencil and paper.
The act of handwriting causes our human brains to retain more information and process it more efficiently. This research has also shown that handwriting boosts the self-confidence in their abilities, which can help lead to success.
So note takers, actually DO retain more, and they FEEL better about it. (Did we mention Bullet Journal yet?)
3. Create a Routine
Remember the forest path analogy from a previous blog post? Repetition creates a strong path. Routines, appointments and calendars all exist because they are SO successful. Habit. Habit. Habit.
Set specific dates and times. Write it on your calendar. Even set your phone’s calendar alarm to notify you. Treat it and respect it just as you would any other professional appointment. You are sure to make those happen, give yourself and your resolution the same priority.
4. Recognize Barriers
We all run into snags. Things fall apart. Life happens.
Plan for it.
Identify specific problems that may arise, and detail how you will handle with the situation to still make your activity happen.
What if my car breaks down? I will walk two miles in my neighborhood.
What if I oversleep? I will do it after I do my dinner dishes.
What if I forget? I will set a computer-generated notification to avoid human error.
What if I am running low on steam? I will call a friend or listen to energizing music.
And write down all these what-ifs. Write them down right next to your goal. It’s harder to battle them when you see them staring you in the face. *insert bullet journal nudge here*
5. Phone a friend
Or text a friend. In any event, tell a friend about your goal and your plan. Enlist them as a back-up in case you need a pep talk. Holding yourself accountable to someone else offers a greater responsibility and increases your chances of success.
Clock in those sleep hours.
We always hear of the benefits of sleep. Research has actually shown that by creating a sleep routine with the beneficial number of hours, you can increase your performance and decrease your psychological strain.
So, SLEEP! Create a sleep routine. Set a specific time to go to bed and a specific time to wake up. It’s the schedule that’s the key. It makes it easier to actually DO the things that you are trying to do, and it gets easier ON you to do those things. Sounds like a win-win to us!
7. Create Sparks of Variety
Variety really is the spice of life.
Remember that first spark that got you started? Try another one!
Listen to a new genre of music. Watch a new movie. Take a different route home. Try a new food that you’ve previously sworn off. Pick a different color.
Variety sparks creativity and gives your performance a boost. Introduce variety or something new that will fit your goal and it will give you the push you need.
- Try something new
- Write it down
- Create a routine
- Recognize barriers
- Phone a friend
- Create variety sparks
*Make a bullet journal an integral part of your resolution success.
Science-based tips for a better, happier New Year. Original written by Gerry Everding, Washington University in St. Louis. Note: content edited. Read the original article
For More Effective Studying, Take Notes With Pen and Paper. Original written by Allison Eck, NOVA for PBS, pbs.org. Note: content used for reference and summary. Read the original article
Berlyne, D.E. Novelty, Complexity, and Hedonic Value, Perception & Psychophysics (1970) Vol. 8, Issue 5, Pages 279-286. DOI 10.3758/BF03212593
Barber, Larissa K.; Munz, Davids C.; Consistent-sufficient sleep predicts improvements in self-regulatory performance and psychological strain. Stress and Health Vol. 7, Issue 4, Oct. 2011, Pages 265-352 DOI: 10.1002/smi.1364.
Stanley J. Colcombe, Kirk I. Erickson, Paige E. Scalf, Jenny S. Kim, Ruchika Prakash, Edward McAuley, Steriani Elavsky, David X. Marquez, Liang Hu, Arthur F. Kramer; Aerobic Exercise Training Increases Brain Volume in Aging Humans, The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, Volume 61, Issue 11, 1 November 2006, Pages 1166–1170, DOI 10.1093/Gerona/61.11.1166
Richard S. Lysakowski & Herbert J. Walberg. Classroom Reinforcement and Learning: A Quantitave Synthesis. The Journal of Educational Research Vol. 75, Issue 2. DOI 10.1080/00220671.1981.10885359. Original Material