Asking_why_article.jpgA new study in the Journal of Consumer Research has found that people who make concrete plans to achieve their goals are more likely to have difficulty doing so as compared to people who think abstractly of their aims, according to this MedicalNewsToday.com article. Authors Julia Belyavsky Bayuk, Chris Janiszewski, and Robyn LeBoeuf share that people who ask themselves how exactly they want to accomplish something tend to become close-minded to valuable opportunities that are not a part of their plan—which means they also have trouble coping with unexpected situations. On the other hand, people who focus on why they want to accomplish something are more likely to take advantage of good opportunities since they have an abstract plan of action, rather than one that is set in stone.

The study conducted four experiments geared at saving money. In one, participants were all given the chance to buy candy. Those who had a specific plan of action for pinching pennies had difficulty avoiding the candy purchase. On the other hand, those who were thinking abstractly of their goals were surprisingly able to pass up on the candy.

"Planning is more effective when people think abstractly, keep an open mind, and remind themselves of why they want to achieve a goal," according to the authors. "This strategy is especially effective when the plan turns out to be infeasible (cheaper restaurant is too far away, gym is closed today for a holiday) or when other goal-directed activities become available (walk instead of taking a cab, eat a healthier meal).”

For all the details on this study, read the full article on MedicalNewsToday.com.

Want more helpful tips on how to accomplish your goals? Read on!


MAKE A “LIFE LIST”

Create a list of what you’d like to accomplish in your life with the most important thing at the top of the roster. According to this Suite101.com article, making a “life list” will give your journey towards achievement a jump-off point and a general direction. In other words, you’ll know which goals to focus on first and which can be carried out later on.


FIND THE DRIVE

Napoleon Hill, who wrote the best-selling self-help book Think and Grow Rich, said, “Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire, which transcends everything.” To achieve any goal, you have to want it with all you’ve got. The desire will beget resolve, which will in turn beget action.


KEEP IT REGULAR

Even if you don’t construct a concrete plan of action, as the previously mentioned study suggests, you should still make it a point to do what needs to be done in order to get things moving. This Wikihow.com article suggests that you “start working on your goals today” and each and every day after that. This Suite101.com article even says that you should attempt to do 5 things per day! This way, you can establish an “accomplishment rhythm” which will help bring you closer to you what you want.


REVIEW YOUR PROGRESS
 
Blind action accomplishes nothing, so make sure that you evaluate the steps you have been taking at regular intervals. This will help you learn from any mistakes you’ve made in the process and alter the route you are taking if ever your ambitions change over time.


(Photo source: sxc.hu)

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