How One Word Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

How One Word Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

Would you like to know the one word that’s proven to increase the chance that you’ll achieve your goal? 

Recent research from the Journal of Consumer Research not only tells us what this word is but why it’s so powerful (hint: I just used it in that last sentence).

The word is why.  And here’s why it’s so powerful.

Imagine that your goal is to save money.  And you ask yourself how to do it.  So you decide to create a specific plan that involves you spending less money at Starbucks.  Will you take other money-saving opportunities or not?  The answer is “not” or at least not likely.  Those who ask themselves why they want to save money far are more likely to notice other opportunities to reach their goals.  In fact, asking how alone can actually keep you from seeing other opportunities.

Here’s how researchers discovered this:

They conducted several experiment to see how different questions affected people when they had the goal of saving money.  In one study, participants were asked to create a specific plan to save money while another group was asked to focus on the reasons why they wanted to save money.  And the members of a third group were asked to focus on the abstract reasons for saving money and to form a plan.

The members of each group were given the chance to buy candy.

Those who formed specific plans (concrete thinkers) were less effective in avoiding the candy purchase than those who had focused on the reasons they wanted to save money (abstract thinkers).  And among those who focused on the why, the ones that formed plans were the most effective at avoiding the candy purchase.

“Planning is more effective when people think abstractly, keep an open mind, and remind themselves of why they want to achieve a goal,” the authors of the study write. “This strategy is especially effective when the plan turns out to be infeasible (cheaper restaurant is too far away, gym is closed today for a holiday) or when other goal-directed activities become available (walk instead of taking a cab, eat a healthier meal).”

So if you want to reach a goal, focus on all the reasons why you want to achieve it, then form a plan.  Doing so will allow you to be open to many more opportunities to reach your goal and so increase your chances of success.

To find an official source describing this study visit the link below.

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