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How to keep those new-years resolutions Wageningen: Studium Generale – 8/1/2015 Dr. Thijs Verwijmeren

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Presentation on theme: "How to keep those new-years resolutions Wageningen: Studium Generale – 8/1/2015 Dr. Thijs Verwijmeren"— Presentation transcript:

1 How to keep those new-years resolutions Wageningen: Studium Generale – 8/1/2015 Dr. Thijs Verwijmeren

2 New years resolutions to lose weight to go for a run every morning to practice playing the piano more often to stop smoking To drink less To study more

3 A fresh start? Google searches:

4 Is it successful?

5 What’s so hard? Out with the old? -The power of the environment -The power of past behavior In with the new? -Planning -> Implementation intentions

6 Out with the old New years resolutionsImpulses

7 Out with the old: impulses

8 Sensitivity to reward

9 We can run but we can’t hide! 9

10 Approach the delicious

11 Automatic activation of motor systems

12 Out with the old New years resolutions Habits

13 Out with the old: Habits

14 When are habits formed? They occur: -In stable environments -With repeated behavior

15 Out with the old: Habits

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17 Habitual behavior

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22 Overcoming habits and impulses? Willpower -“Are we in charge of our own behavior?” Avoidance Training Planning

23 Willpower

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25 Willpower is a limited source

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27 Diminishing impulses: Training

28 Avoidance training

29 Training to avoid

30 The stopsignal treatment F P F F P F P F

31 Candy consumption Drie typen snoep werden gekoppeld aan stopsignalen, of niet (tussen proefpersonen) Volgende dag kwamen pp terug –Zogenaamd andere studie Doe zoveel in de snoepzak als je wilt –Afh. Variabele hoeveelheid snoep in gram 31

32 Candy consumption Three types of candy were coupled to stop- signals or not The next day, subjects returned for a different study and they could take any amount of candy.

33 The candy store Fill your bag with as much candy as you want:

34 De snoepwinkel Doe de zak zo vol als je wilt 34

35 Effect of the stop-signal training

36 Out with the old! Impulses can be reduced by training: -Of avoiding the stimulus -Of stopping to react to the stimulus What about past behavior / habits? -The power of planning!

37 In with the new: the power of planning Improve chance of goal-pursuit If – then statements Activation of Goal representation Action preparation and selection Environment

38 38 Implementation intentions Activation of goal representation Environment Planning “when” and “where” Planning “how” Action- preparation and selection

39 Implementation intentions When I wake up…. I put on my running kit and run 30 min If my co-worker asks me on a smoke-break… I drink a cup of tea instead

40 Proper implementation intentions Are specific -Both in the if-part, as in the then-part “If I am distracted, instead I focus on work again.” “When I am making a powerpoint presentation, and I find myself on Facebook, I close my internet browser, and open powerpoint again.”

41 Proper implementation intentions The if-part can be about inner states -To deal with changing environments “If I walk through the city center, and I see a delicious snack, I go and buy an apple instead” what about snacking at home, or at work? “If I feel hungry or the need to snack, I go and buy an apple instead”

42 Overcoming habitual behavior Holland, Aarts & Langendam, 2006

43 Shielding from temptations

44 Overcoming Ego Depletion “As soon as I see the word I will ignore its meaning (for example, by concentrating on the second letter only) and I will name the color ink it is printed in.”

45 How do implementation intentions work? Associating goal with behavior? Simulation of the planned behavior: More grounded and lasting encoding

46 New-years solutions Don’t rely on willpower alone! Train your impulses away -Approach / avoindance training Plan properly -Make specific plans -Simulate the plans in your mind!

47 Good luck!! Dr. Thijs Verwijmeren


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