New Year resolution success

PORTLAND, Ore. – If you make and break the same New Year's resolutions year after year, Negotiation Professor, Richard Birke, says negotiation skills can help us break that cycle.


Here are his tips:

Negotiation and New Year's Resolutions

Some of the hardest negotiations are the negotiations you have with yourself. Around New Years' Eve, people indulge and then set resolutions that they don't keep.  Sometimes they fall into worse habits than before because they feel bad about breaking their resolutions.

Their "New Year's resolution" self is losing the negotiation to their "same old habits" self.  Here are three tips for negotiating better New Year's resolutions.

1.  SHOOT FOR THE STARS – Aim high and set ambitious goals.  Studies show that negotiators who set higher initial aspirations do better than people who set only moderate goals.  Choose your most inspirational vision of your resolution come true, and set reasonable timetables to reach it. Then go for the gold!

2.  SETTLE FOR WHAT YOU GET – Be happy with any progress you make toward your goal.  Reaching goals is important, but be sure to feel good about any progress you made.  The same study that shows that high aspirers do better in negotiation also showed that they tended to be the least happy.  They measured success not against what was possible or realistic, but against their ambitions.  Even though they did better than average, they felt worse than average. Don't fall into that trap. You went for the gold and got silver?  Bronze?  You finished the race at all?  That's great!

3.  FOR BETTER HEALTH AND MORE EFFECTIVE RESOLUTIONS, NEGOTIATE A DEAL WITH YOUR FEAR AND ANGER – Studies show that negative (angry, sad or fearful) thoughts raise blood pressure and heart rate and suppress immune response.  Too often, people think about bad things that happened in the past (including breaking their resolutions) and these thoughts make them feel worse and live life a little less fully.

The only way to stop the negative health effects is to forgive ourselves and others for past events that can't be changed.

Forgiveness is sometimes hard. The part of us that is angry or fearful or sad feels that we need to hold onto the negative emotions so we don't make the same mistakes.  Sometimes we use anger as a motivator to do something, and we hold onto to the anger to hold onto the motivation. The part that wants to be healthy needs to negotiate a way to get all the lessons and motivations without the negative effects on health.

Remember, sometimes the hardest negotiations are with yourself.

Happy new year, and happy negotiations.



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