Regardless of the resource you consult, “resolution” is defined as a promise, pledge, oath, or vow to change. Change of behavior is our expertise! We could publish a plethora of white papers based on collective recommendations (gleaned through qualitative prowess, of course) of behavior influencers, impact of distinct stimulus, and identifying primary drivers of habit – that’s what we do!
Likewise, change for qualitative scholars should be a breeze.
If defining your resolution is significantly easier than accomplishing change, we provide scholarly advice of the academic and historic ilk.
According to John F. Kennedy: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
As we research the topic of change, many familiar terms emerge: Attitude & Information, Reinforcement, Environment, Incentives, and Social Influencers & Behavior Modeling. It seems we might be well- prepared for change, and importantly, applying what we’ve learned through our work can prove personally gratifying.
In addition to a thoughtful written plan of action, the following primary elements of successfully accomplishing change may enlighten the path:
- Attitude & Information: Establishing a realistic goal and sufficient time to accomplish it (old news I know) is consistently reiterated. That said, uncompromised belief in change is essential. Informational rationale should serve as your impetus. Research the topic with vigor and take notes on critical supportive elements. Beginning this way will cognitively establish your goal as important and provide tangible benefits toward the efforts. “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.” Abraham Lincoln
- Reinforcement: As the business of life takes over, goals towards change can be challenged. Reinforcement can evolve as recruiting a partner in your goal, inputting “reminders” on your outlook calendar, posting inspiring images (or typed reminders noted from your research) in prominent places, or subscribing to electronic daily inspirations. “There is no failure except in no longer trying.” Elbert Hubbard
- Environment: Changing the environment where your behavioral issues occur is a necessary reinforcement. Examples: limiting spending may require leaving credit cards at home (or destroying them), improving time management may require use of a stop watch or complete a timesheet for a month; exercising more or losing weight might require daily gym clothes in your car, or stocking health snacks at work. To change stubborn behaviors, “establishing beneficial or replacing destructive habits are necessary.” “To fly, we have to have resistance.” Maya Lin
- Incentives: Effective for respondent cooperation and change-seekers alike! Similar to multi-phase research studies, academics recommend interim and final incentives to sustain behavior changes. Common sense and caution should be utilized when establishing incentives, and it is recommended that the reward be external to the category. For example, a purchase is not appropriate for limiting spending goals. “In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences.” Robert Green Ingersoll
- Social Influence and Modeling Behavior: Surround yourself with people who currently display the behaviors you desire. Make new friends at the gym, yoga class, work, or establish supportive connections through a social networking site. Distancing yourself (at least temporarily until new behaviors are established) from destructive influencers and replacing the time spent with encouraging people will reinforce the habits you are changing. “All good is hard. All evil is easy. Dying, losing, cheating, and mediocrity are easy. Stay away from easy.” Scott Alexander
Cheers to making a positive change in 2012!
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