Here’s an easy-to-follow tip to make 2018 your best year yet.
Simply put, you have to prime up! And I’m not talking about early drinks at your friend’s place before you head downtown. This type of priming actually makes you feel better in the morning – and more successful.
What does it mean? It refers to what you think about before you set out to accomplish your goals. Your mind needs to be warmed up and ready, much like warming up before running that great race. Or singing your scales before a stunning performance. What you think about is critical.
In a well known 1999 Harvard study, authors Shih et al studied the effect of priming on performance. In the mathematical study involving Asian-American women, one cohort was asked to identify their ethnicity on the test, while the other cohort was asked to identify their gender. The math test questions remained the same in both groups.
The results? The group that identified by ethnicity outperformed the group that identified by gender. Why is that? Based upon stereotypical, cultural anchors that exist in our society (that are not based in fact), Asians are perceived as stronger in math, and women are perceived as weaker, a story that links to the lack of females in the STEM space (science, technology, engineering, math). And yet when the study participants were forced to think about them, it impacted their performance (+11% for the first cohort, -11% for the second. A 22% difference!).
What does this mean for you? What you think about matters. For example, if your 2018 goal is to lose 15lbs by June 1st, and your mental narrative is “its impossible” or “I’ll always be fat” your odds of success are much lower than if you took a more positive approach (“this is totally doable” or “that person did it, so can I”).
So when you emerge from the holidays thinking about your plans for 2018, be ready to prime yourself with what works for you! Maybe that’s surrounding yourself with people who have already accomplished the goal, or reading a book to inspire you (or signing up for this blog!). Whatever it is, prime yourself – its essential to high performance.
You deserve it.