Anybody could set an ambitious goal or target for himself, but those who make interesting the activities they need to undertake to attain the goal have higher chances of success, a study suggests.
The study examined the notion that your level of interest helps to simultaneously optimise your performance and the resources necessary to stay deeply engaged.
If people experience activities as both enjoyable and personally significant – two important components of interest – their chance of success increases, the findings showed.
“Engaging in personally interesting activities not only improves performance, but also creates an energised experience that allows people to persist when persisting would otherwise cause them to burn out,” said Paul O’Keefe from Stanford University in the US.
In the study, students worked on a set of word puzzles.
They were asked to report how enjoyable they thought the task would be before they began working on it.
Then they worked on the puzzles, which were described as either being personally valuable (value condition) or of neutral value (control condition).
Those who reported high anticipated enjoyment and attached the personally valuable condition to it performed the best.
Reaching personal improvement goals requires building and sustaining new behaviour and attitudes, The Huffington Post reported citing the study.
Framing a new habit as exciting and valuable boosts your chances of success and shifts your focus from gratification someday to gratification right now.
The extra excitement and enjoyment you create for yourself may prove to be the difference between real personal progress and wishful thinking.