January is right around the corner and right now you’re probably mapping out what you want to achieve in the year ahead. Whether you’re resolving to get a promotion, start on side projects you’ve put off, or finally making six-figures, one fact remains: change is hard.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the high failure rate of New Year’s resolutions. Nearly one-half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8 percent follow-through and accomplish their goals.
Why? Humans are creatures of habit. We make excuses as to why we can’t take action, saying we’re too busy, don’t have enough money, or lack the right network. Imposter Syndrome creeps in when we set our ambitions sky high (“Who am I to think I can raise my prices?).
Turn Resolutions Into Questolutions
Psychology offers a way to short-circuit excuses and mental resistance on the way to accomplishing your goals: Turn your resolution into a “questolution.” That is, make your goal into a puzzle that your brain will inherently want to solve by turning it into a question. For example, “I will make six-figures this year” becomes “How might I make six-figures this year?”
It’s a subtle shift, but a powerful one. Research shows that asking people a question about performing a target behavior (a goal) positively influences the future performance of that behavior by as much as 25 to 28 percent.
Why does this question-behavior effect work? “If you question a person about performing a future behavior, the likelihood of that behavior happening will change,” says David Sprott, senior dean of the Carson College Business, Washington State University.
Rather than issuing demands in the form of goal-statements, questions relieve some of the stress and pressure of dreaming big. They inspire us to think more creatively because when the brain faces an open loop, it can’t help but get to work solving it.
Questioning your beliefs produces the greatest effect. That means you can up your chances of sticking to your New Year’s resolutions by challenging unhelpful thoughts and replacing it with realistic self-talk.
The question-behavior effect can be used in many areas of your life and not just around the New Year. When you train yourself to get curious and stop being your own worst critic, you unlock your potential.
How will you put “questolutions” into action to transform your goals?