The Psychology of Motivation behind my New Year’s Resolution

I found this image “The Rules of a Creator’s Life” via Pinterest, a virtual pinboard for visual learners. It is my source of motivation for my 2012 New Year’s resolution.

Have you heard of Heidi Grant Halvorson? She just might help you and I succeed with our New Year’s Resolution. Dr Halvorson wrote an article this year for Harvard Business Review entitled “Use Motivational Fit to Market Product and Ideas“. Her analysis show that there are two general categories of people when it comes to motivation.

The first group tend to view goals as “gain or advancement”. In other words, if my New Year’s resolution is about losing weight, chances are this goal will not work for me. If I make a resolution about running a half marathon, then I have framed my resolution as a “gain”. I will gain bragging rights. I will gain a fit mind and body. This type of motivation is called “promotion motivation“. According to Dr. Halvorson, this group of people “are more energized by optimism and praise, more likely to embrace risk, seize opportunities and excel at creativity and innovation”.

The other group would make a better New Year’s resolution if they framed their quest to lose weight as a “prevention motivation“. They want to protect what they already have. For example, they could frame their resolution to lose weight as “lower my bad cholesterol because I do not want to be at risk”. This group, according to Dr. Halvorson “are more driven by criticism and the looming possiility of failure than they are by applause and a sunny outlook”. They are risk averse, accurate and great planners.

My objective this year is to run a half marathon and learn how to podcast. Guess what motivational group I am in? Enjoy your New Year’s Resolution planning process. It’s cathartic.

About sleclair

Suzanne is a "connected lawyer" and a cloud office fanatic. Suzanne helps other professionals like her, work out of the best espresso bars in the world. Suzanne runs, & runs her business anywhere.

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