PAVE the Way to Success in 2014

If you’re like many people then you’ll be making
New Year’s resolutions and if you’re like most you’ll be
breaking those same resolutions within a day or two. According to one study,
more than half the people who make resolutions are confident of achieving them,
yet barely more than one in ten do so. That’s amazingly bad because most resolutions
are good ones! Here are a few of the most popular New Year’s resolutions:

  • Spend
    more time with family
  • Lose
  • Begin
  • Quit
  • Quit
  • Get
  • Get
    out of debt

The list is admirable so why are these goals so
difficult to achieve for 90% of us? There are probably as many reasons
as there are resolutions and dwelling on them wouldn’t be as beneficial as
giving you scientifically proven tips that can help make 2014 a year of positive change for you. Around this time every year I
share an influence technique that can help readers PAVE
the way to success in the New Year.

In the study of persuasion there’s a powerful
motivator of behavior known as the principle of consistency.” This proven
rule tells us people feel internal and external psychological pressure to act
in ways that are consistent with their prior actions, words, deeds, beliefs and
values. When we act in consistent ways we feel better about ourselves and other
people perceive us in a more favorable light, which adds to our authority in their eyes.
There are four simple things to strengthen the
power of consistency in your life. These simple ideas will help you PAVE the way to success because they’ll
dramatically increase the odds that you’ll follow through on your New Year’s
Public – Whenever you
make a public statement, whether verbally or in writing, you’re putting
yourself and your reputation on the line. The mere fact that another person
knows your intention and might ask you how you’re doing is often
enough motivation for people to follow through.
– Share with another person or group of people, your New Year’s
resolution and ask them to hold you accountable.
Active – You have to
actively do something. Merely thinking about a resolution, just keeping it to
yourself as some sort of secret, will lead to the same results as people who
don’t make resolutions. In other words, nothing will change. This came to light
in a study with a group of students who wanted to improve their college grades.
One group was asked to write their goals down, one group kept their goals in
their heads, and the last group had no specific goal whatsoever. As you can
imagine, the group with the written goals succeeded, with nearly 90% of
students increasing by a full letter grade! With the other two groups the
results were identical and poor. In each group fewer than 1 in 6 students
improved a full letter grade. It’s worth noting, they were all given the same
study materials so they all had the same opportunity to better their GPA.
– Make sure you have to take some active steps. It could be as simple
as buying a book to help you learn more about the changes you’re hoping to
Voluntary – This has to
be YOUR goal, not someone else’s goal for you. If you’re trying to do something
– quit smoking, lose weight, get in shape – it’s not likely your motivation
will last if someone told you to do it. The goal has to come from you because
if it’s forced on you it’s not likely your willpower will last long. Samuel Butler
said it best when he wrote, “He who complies against his will is of the same
opinion still.”
– Make sure it’s something you really want to do.
Effort – It was already
noted that you have to actively do something. In other words, making the
commitment should require some effort on your part. The more effort
you expend setting up your goal, the more likely you are to succeed. Something
as simple as writing down your resolution can make a difference, even if you
don’t share it with anyone. But, taking the time to share it also fulfills the
public requirement, which gives you more bang for the buck! Robert Cialdini
puts it this way, “People live up to what they write down.”
– A little more effort, like committing pen to paper, will increase your chance for success
So to recap the recommendations:
  1. Share your resolutions with others.
  2. Make sure to take some active steps.
  3. Make it your goal.
  4. Commit pen to paper.

None of what I just shared is
new but I’m guessing many of you haven’t tried the PAVE
approach before. If you’ve failed at your resolutions in the past then give
this approach a try. If you fail again you’re no worse off but this different
approach might just be your key to success in 2014. Good luck and Happy New
Year to all of you!

Brian Ahearn, CMCT®
Chief Influence Officer


Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
2 replies
  1. Anthony McLean
    Anthony McLean says:

    Great post Brian. If your readers need to take it up a notch websites like allow people to make a commitment, tell people about it and if they like put their money where their mouth is to add a little a Scarcity to the deal, i.e. if you don't do it you lose your money to a charity you have nominated. Developed by Yale University economists the website was a largescale field test to research Commitment Contracts and has continued to grow. Have a great 2014 Brian and I look forward to the posts ahead.

  2. Brian Ahearn
    Brian Ahearn says:

    Thanks for the additional tip Anthony. I hope 2014 arranges a circumstance so we can meet and share a meal or two together. Best of luck with the start or the new year, I look forward to working with you.


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