January is in full swing, and talk of those New Year resolutions you vowed to keep is likely still rife around the office, but studies show that 45% of us have already thrown them out the window – almost half of us never stick to our set goals less than a month after we’ve set them.
Why does this happen? It’s down to a lack of motivation. We could surmise multiple reasons why this occurs the first month of the year – it’s cold, dark and we’re broke – but the team over at asapSCIENCE have set about finding the scientific reasons as to why it’s so hard to stay motivated and in turn, what exactly makes us strive towards our goals.
Firstly, the team cite a study from Harvard University in which students had to hit keys on a keyboard as many times as possible. Those that did it the fastest would receive money. Some got a reward of $300, and others got a reward of $30. Unsurprisingly the performance was 95 percent higher in the group vying for a $300 prize. So money is certainly a motivator.
Having said that, in the second task, they were given a complex math problem. This time, those trying to get more money actually performed 32% worse than the $30 group. This is down to the Distraction Effect. This happens when you are forced to solve a complex task but are so distracted by your motivator – in this case, the financial reward – that you become too distracted to complete the task promptly.
So you need something to get you going and committed, and the researchers believe this one thing is fun, or as the team call it, “play.”
According to the video, brain scans show that those who do something for fun often do it just as well as those getting a reward and “play” can be one of the strongest motivators for those who achieve their targets. So understandably, the reason we’re not motivated enough to go to the gym is that the majority of us don’t enjoy it, so pick something you genuinely, whole-heartedly love. You can tailor your fitness routine; it doesn’t have to be based inside a gym. Also, try to choose an activity you know will make you feel good; those focused solely on just weight loss apparently spent less exercising than those who wanted to feel better within themselves.
Watch the video below for more pointers. This should serve as food for thought as you write your list of potential achievements for the year.