The most effective way to implement a behavior change
We all have goals we want to achieve, behaviors we want to change, and habits we want to build (or break). Finding things we want to accomplish is the easy part. But putting in the work to actually hit them? That’s where things usually fall apart.
One of the oldest arguments around behavior change comes down to this: Should we make our ambitions public or keep them inside?
As it turns out, the answer isn’t a simple one.
as it turns out で、「 結論から申しますと」です。
So what does it take to commit to real behavior change? Let’s look at two of the most popular methods: social pressure and commitment devices.
put in (phrasal verb)
Cambridge Dictionary によると ” to spend a lot of time or effort doing something: “という風に記載されています。
Wendy has been putting in more hours at the office recently.
They must have put in a lot of work to achieve such an interesting exhibition.
If I put in some extra hours today, I can have some time off tomorrow.
We‘ve put a lot of time into redesigning the packaging.
come down to (phrase)
Macmillan Dictionary によると ” to be the most important aspect of a situation or problem “という風に記載されていますね。
In the end, it all comes down to who wants the job the most.
It all comes down to money in the end.
Eventually our choice of hotel will come down to how much we can afford.
To commit (verb)
Macmillan Dictionary によると ” to promise to do something “という風に記載されていますね。
He would have to commit to spending several thousand pounds.
I do not want to commit to any particular date.
Commitment device (noun)
wikipedia によると ” A commitment device is, according to journalist Stephen J. Dubner and economist Steven Levitt, a way to lock yourself into following a plan of action that you might not want to do but you know is good for you. In other words, a commitment device is a way to give yourself a reward or punishment to make an empty promise stronger and believable. “という風に記載されていますね。
THE 5 REASONS MOST BEHAVIOR CHANGE FAILS
Anyone who’s been on a crash diet or stuck to a new schedule for a week knows it’s pretty easy to make short-term changes to our behaviors. It’s when we try for long-term, sustained changes where things become difficult.
Psychologists have been studying our inability to make big changes for years and have uncovered five primary reasons why your efforts fall short:
・We’re motivated by negative emotions. You might think negative emotions like fear or regret would inspire you to make a change, but the opposite is actually true. One review of 129 studies found that the least effective behavior change strategies were consistently ones that focused on fear and regret.
・We get trapped in “all or nothing” thinking. There are plenty of cognitive biases that get in the way of making any change, but one of the worst is all-or-nothing thinking. This is where we rely on a sudden jolt of motivation, and then give up the second we hit a snag.
・We start too big and too vague. Changing any behavior takes time. But most of us try to change too much at once. We focus on huge changes (like “get six-pack abs”) instead of realistic steps (like “do five sit-ups”). Behavior change needs specific and realistic actions to take hold.
・We forget that failure is a part of the process. Too many times, we focus on the end goal and not the process. Failure during behavior change isn’t the end of the road. It’s a street sign pointing you toward what you need to focus on. We don’t make a commitment. Any major change requires some commitment—whether public or private—to keep you dedicated to seeing it through
While we’ve covered some of the most impactful of these issues in previous blog posts (like our Guide to Effective Goal Setting, Why you Should be Setting Smaller Goals, and Understanding Motivation: How to harness the power of consistent productivity), what about the final one?
When it comes to behavior change, what’s the best strategy for sticking to our commitments? Should we make them in public? Or keep them to ourselves?
crash diet (noun)
Cambridge Dictionary によると ” a way of losing body weight quickly by eating very little “という風にも記載されていますね。
get in the way of something (phrase)
Macmillan Dictionary によると ” to prevent something from happening “という風に記載されていますね。
I never let unimportant details get in the way of a good plan.
Macmillan Dictionary によると ” a sudden strong feeling that does not last long, especially one of surprise or fear “という風に記載されていますね。
I realized with a jolt that she was staring at me.
Macmillan Dictionary によると ” a problem or disadvantage that you have not planned for “という風に記載されていますね。
We don’t anticipate any snags in/with the negotiations.
The drug is very effective – the only snag is that it cannot be produced in large quantities.
take hold (phrasal verb)
Macmillan Dictionary によると ” to become stronger and difficult to stop “という風に記載されていますね。
They were fortunate to escape before the fire took hold.
The economic recovery is just beginning to take hold now.
see through (phrasal verb)
Macmillan Dictionary によると ” to recognize that something is not true and not be tricked by it “という風に記載されていますね。
We can all see through your little game, Adam.
They were very friendly, but it didn’t take long to see through them.
She saw through his excuse at once.
To cover (verb)
Macmillan Dictionary によると ” to give a report or description of an event on television or radio, or in a newspaper “という風に記載されていますね。
She‘s covering the American election for BBC television.
We will be covering the game live on Saturday afternoon.
Clare Gray covered the Paris fashion shows for The Times.
To harness (verb)
Macmillan Dictionary によると ” to get control of something in order to use it for a particular purpose “という風に記載されていますね。
Humans first harnessed the power of electricity over 200 years ago.
There is a great deal of interest in harnessing wind and waves as new sources of power.
SOCIAL PRESSURE VS. COMMITMENT DEVICES: WHICH STRATEGY IS BETTER FOR BEHAVIOR CHANGE?
Once you’ve decided on a change you want to make, broken it down into actionable steps, and defined your process for making a change, how should you keep yourself accountable?
There are two popular methods that psychologists and behavioral scientists have been studying for years: social pressure and commitment devices.
But is one better than the other?
Cambridge Dictionary によると ” Someone who is accountable is completely responsible for what they do and must be able to give a satisfactory reason for it: “という風にも記載されていますね。
She is accountable only to the managing director.
The recent tax reforms have made government more accountable for its spending.
Politicians should be accountable to the public who elected them.
SOCIAL PRESSURE: IS IT BETTER TO FAIL IN PUBLIC?
We’ve all been in those situations where we’ve stuck with a behavior out of fear of public ridicule. And while social pressure might have helped you change your fashion choices in middle school, can it also help you change your work habits?
Let’s think of a common scenario: New Year’s Resolutions.
New Year’s resolution は、新年の抱負です。
Imagine you set a resolution to change your morning routine and time block an hour every morning for writing instead of jumping straight into emails. To keep you committed, you tell your coworkers what you’re doing and post publicly about it.
This might seem like a good idea, however, the research says otherwise. Studies have found we’re less likely to keep up with our goals after we publicize them. Here’s why:
First, our brain confuses talking about your goal with actually working toward it. This gap between intention and implementation only widens when people get excited about our goals. Excitement about your potential changes provides a rush of dopamine—the feel-good chemical that powers many of our behaviors.
Going public with our goals also makes us more likely to celebrate our success prematurely. Instead of focusing on making daily progress, we talk openly about hitting a week of different behaviors. All this leads our brain to assume we’ve hit our goal and then revert back to old behaviors.
Lastly, social pressure usually relies on fear to motivate. We’re afraid of seeming incompetent, which, as we saw before, doesn’t lead to sustained change.
Macmillan Dictionary によると ” remarks or behaviour intended to make someone or something seem silly by making fun of them in an unkind way “という風に記載されていますね。
He’s become an object of ridicule (= a person that everyone thinks is stupid and criticizes or laughs at).
Her old-fashioned ideas risk making her an object of ridicule.
New Year’s resolution (noun)
Macmillan Dictionary によると ” a decision that you make on the first day of the year about the things that you intend to do or stop doing during that year “という風に記載されていますね。
Macmillan Dictionary によると ” a serious decision to do something “という風に記載されていますね。
Make a resolution to go to the gym once a week.
The United Nations passed (= voted to support) a resolution to increase aid to developing nations.
I made a resolution to give up chocolate.
To confuse with (verb)
Macmillan Dictionary によると ” to think wrongly that a person or thing is someone or something else “という風に記載されていますね。
It’s easy to confuse success with happiness.
You’re confusing me with my sister – she’s the singer.
Cambridge Dictionary によると “too soon: “という風に記載されていますね。
Twins often are born prematurely.
Tony is getting prematurely gray (= his hair is becoming gray).
To revert (verb)
Cambridge Dictionary によると ” reply “という風に記載されていますね。インディアン英語です。
Please revert by email.
Cambridge Dictionary によると ” not having the ability to do something as it should be done: “という風に記載されていますね。
an incompetent teacher/doctor
He has described the government as corrupt and incompetent.
COMMITMENT DEVICES: ARE WE MORE MOTIVATED WHEN WE KEEP THINGS TO OURSELVES?
If sharing our goals leads us to become complacent and give up too early, then what are our other options?
One of the most powerful options is to use what’s called a commitment device. A commitment device is a way to lock yourself into behavior change by linking it to a reward or punishment.
One of the oldest (albeit fictional) examples of a commitment device is the story of Odysseus who tied himself to his ship’s mast so he wouldn’t be entranced by the siren’s song.
But no one’s tying themselves to a ship’s mast these days. So what sort of commitment devices can you use to promote behavior change?
Let’s go back to our first example: writing every morning for an hour. There are all sorts of commitment devices you could use for keeping up with this change.
Here are a few ideas:
・$1 donated to your favorite charity when you hit your goal and $10 donated to a charity you hate when you miss it.
・30 minutes of TV per night when you hit your goal and none if you miss it.
・Blocking distracting websites like social media for the rest of the day if you don’t hit your goal.
Cambridge Dictionary によると ” something given in exchange for good behaviour or good work, etc.: “という風に記載されていますね。
There’s a reward for whoever finishes first.
You deserve a day off as a reward for working so hard.
The prize was a just reward for all his hard work.
Cambridge Dictionary によると ” although: “という風に記載されていますね。
The evening was very pleasant, albeit a little quiet.
He tried, albeit without success.
The United States finally agreed, albeit unwillingly, to support the UN action.
To promote (verb)
Cambridge Dictionary によると ” to encourage people to like, buy, use, do, or support something: “という風に記載されていますね。
THE MOST POWERFUL COMMITMENT DEVICE
While most of the commitment devices listed above rely on clearly defined rewards and punishments, that isn’t always the best approach.
Remember how we said that behavior change fails when we focus on the negative? If you’re only relying on a negative consequence to keep you committed, you’re probably not going to last for long.
Instead, the most powerful commitment devices act more like gentle reminders rather than hard-set rules.
A few years ago, RescueTime teamed up with Cornell researcher Richard Patterson to understand how to keep people committed to something many drop out of: Online courses (or, MOOCs).
The biggest issue with MOOCs is that they’re self-paced and usually free, meaning they rely entirely on students managing their own time with little penalty for dropping out or giving up.
In fact, The Washington Post reports that most online classes have a completion rate of less than 10%. This makes them a perfect candidate for research into commitment devices.
In Patterson’s study, he broke a group of 650 students down into four groups:
・A control group.
・Those who received a RescueTime Alert after each 30-minute period spent on distracting websites like social media, news, and entertainment.
・They could choose to use RescueTime to block distracting websites for 15 60-minute periods while logged into the online course.
・They were given daily time limits for distracting websites, after which RescueTime would block them.
The study’s results found that the only group to see a significant increase in completion was group four. Rather than try to stick to some self-imposed limit or actively change their behavior, this group were able to define limits and then let RescueTime keep them accountable.
In the end, this group received higher grades, experienced a 24% increase in time spent working, and was 40% more likely to finish the course!
If you want to use this strategy yourself, you can use RescueTime Alerts.
First, choose the activity you want to limit your time on—for example, social media or news. Then, set up a RescueTime Alert for when you hit that limit and have it automatically set a FocusTime session to block that activity for however long you want.
Now, whenever I spend more than an hour on social media during work hours, I get put in an hour FocusTime session and see my custom message: “Too much time spent on social media. Focus on what matters!”
Macmillan Dictionary によると ” self-imposed rules, punishments etc are ones that you have chosen for yourself “という風に記載されていますね。
The end of the year was their self-imposed deadline for finishing the work.
To impose (verb)
Macmillan Dictionary によると ” to introduce something such as a new law or new system, and force people to accept it “という風に記載されていますね。
最後に、内容が理解でき、新しい単語も知ることができたら、必ずCambridge Dictionaryか、Macmillan Dictionaryで例文を読むようにしてください。そして一番シンプルで、自分が日常使いしときやすそうなもをノートやスマホに書き溜めておいてください。そしてこれを移動中の時などに声に出して覚えることが本当に大事です！（電車では難しいので、僕はよく歩きますw）