Habit trackers: does tracking your habits actually work?

We rarely lack good intentions. We want to drink more water, exercise regularly, or meditate every morning. Establishing habits, however, can feel like a struggle, and there’s often a gap between intention and execution. This is why habit trackers are such popular tools to help us stick to our goals. But do they work, and …

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The arrival fallacy: why we should decouple our happiness from our goals

“When I achieve this goal, then I will be happy.” If you’ve ever experienced such a when/then thought pattern, you’re not alone. Whether you’re aiming to run a marathon, get a promotion at work or buy your first house, having a goal in mind can increase your motivation. However, we often mistakenly believe that achieving …

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Using the goal gradient hypothesis to help people cross the finish line

Our perception of progress can impact our overall drive to reach a goal. The goal gradient hypothesis posits that our efforts increase as we get closer to achieving a goal: when the reward is in sight, we feel incentivised to reach the finish line. Designers and decision-makers can effectively use goal gradients as a motivational …

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High agency: how to feel more in control in your life and work

Personal agency, or self-agency, describes the experiences we have when we set goals for ourselves and take action to achieve them. People with high agency feel a sense of control over their lives, and they can make decisions about what they want or need and act to meet those needs. On the other hand, people …

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Life management: a holistic approach to make the most of your life

If you are interested in personal development, you are most likely familiar with a variety of methods to effectively manage your time, energy, relationships, and career. These tools are designed to get the most out of each part of your life. But when you are blinkered into looking at each area in isolation, you might …

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You can eat your mallow: debunking the marshmallow test

The Stanford marshmallow experiment is probably the most famous study in delayed gratification. In 1972, a group of kids was asked to make a simple choice: you can eat this marshmallow now, or wait 15 minutes and receive a second treat. In the paper, the researchers highlighted two significant findings. First, not physically seeing the …

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SMART goals are not so smart: make a PACT instead

A system without a goal is like a marathon without a finish line. But a system with a bad goal will result in a bad outcome. Traditional goal-setting methods use the SMART framework. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Sounds great for small, short-term goals, but not so much for ambitious, long-term …

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Being prepared is overrated: start before you feel ready

Getting ready is fun. Doing research, learning new things, feeling excited about the journey ahead. But whether you’re planning on writing a book, launching a product, or building an exercise routine, getting ready can become a distraction: there is a very fine line between preparation and procrastination. Yes, getting ready is comfortable. But most successful …

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