Choosing futures #5

Posted on February 2, 2012

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Strike while iron is hot

We ended the last post with a bit of folklore (where there’s a will there’s a way)

And yet the previous posts seemed to discount the power of will or “will power” or resolutions – for example New Years Resolutions.

Instead we proposed that when the iron is hot (when you’re hurting enough) throw an anchor into the future by locking yourself into a firm contract that costs a lot to if you renege on it.

Most of us are influenced by peer pressure or peer support so… joining a group heading in the direction you want to travel is usually a good idea.

Also, including committment to the group – eg membership fees, agreeing to attend a specified number of meetings, – and if possible recruit a friend to join you, all increase the probability of sticking with it.

If you follow this proposal you’ll be recruiting several forces or flows to your cause: 1) if you strike while the iron is hot – while you’re hurting from practicing a dumb habit – you’ll have the motivation necessary to throw the anchor into the future (signing the binding contract, 2) Breaking the contract will cause you pain – so you add the wired in genetic reflex of pain avoidance to your cause – more

Peer pressue

pain than that caused by keeping the contract to write, or study, go to the meeting, or weight control sessions, etc. 3) by joining a group traveling in the same direction, and if possible recruiting a partner, you increase the peer group pressure and support, and 4) you help maintain the motivation by rewording yourself as you attain sub-goals along the way to your ultimate target.

So there are reasonable ways to escape old ruts and choose new futures by capitalizing on hard-wired genetic forces (pain avoidance by honoring the contract), plus cultural forces: group pressure to honor a contract, group and peer pressures and support to keep at it.

It a sense you’re fighting a habit with a habit. While the iron is hot – during a brief period when you’re highly motivated to change – by means of a locked in contact you fight one pain avoidance response arising from an old habit (for instance procrastination) with a another and greater pain avoidance response (the financial and/or cultural costs of breaking you contract.

Fig: Peer Pressure:.flickr.com/photos/tritz/48675604/sizes/s

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Posted in: Sciencing