Cues and counter productivity – on recycling...

Reduce, reuse, recycle. A famous combination Jack Johnson sang a song about. I have always been enthusiast about the idea of recycling. And I wanted to write a blog about cues. Just now that I planned that blog, I came across some evidence that suggests that cues pointing at recycling may make us more polluting… Recent research shows us recycling might lead to more usage; shooting its own foot. Recycling already is number three It is for good reasons they put reduce in front of reuse and recycling: energy saving and environment benefit more from the non-usage of products. Recycling comes third. And rightly so: a recycled product is reprocessed and hence is the least efficient one of the three R’s. If recycled products lead to more usage, Jack Johnson might want to change his song… Recycling in companies A lot of companies these days have pro-environmental policies. Two very common focus points are about paper: don’t print what need not be printed and put waste-paper in the paper bin. The biggest problem in the recycling chains is human behavior: it is non-predictable and often inconsistent with intentions. Intentions are often in place: people want to recycle their paper. Research by Holland, Aarts and Langendam shows that a cue on the desktop helps people to recycle both paper and plastic cups more often. A minor cue reminds them of their intentions. Holland, Aarts and Langendam used mini recycle bins on the tables to achieve this gain. The licensing effect Doing something good, like a though workout or eating a really healthy meal, can make us feel like we deserve a treat. Often this ends up with a neutralization of the good we did before: we take desert after our...

I object myself

Stress will kill all your good intentions. The chance of actually performing those acts that we are not accustomed to, but did plan, will drop dramatically when we experience stress. Hindrances and problems that we come across while trying to change our behavior, will make us stressful. Two very recognizable stress factors are interruptions throughout our action and the idea of not having enough time. The situation as we planned it to be like Gollwitzer did a lot of research on this subject, his implementation intentions can be a good start to prevent ourselves to relapse into old behavior. Implementation intentions are more tangible and practical intentions, with a planned moment, situation and so on. Implementation intentions will help us to remember what we planned to do. Through the addition of triggers (where, what, when) we are more likely to think of our intention and succeed in actually executing it. The actual situation The problem with implementation intentions is that they are focused on a positive frame in which we plan our future behavior and everything goes according to plan. This – of course – is far from how it often goes. Whenever we meet a problem or hindrance that keeps us from our old behavior, it will give us stress. Thinking about the possible problems we can encounter will not only give us a quick answer how to stick to our original plan. Thinking through possible objections and problems will also make us react less stressful to the objections. An example Maybe you intent to be nicer to customers at work. You just had a course and are determined to stay friendly no matter what happens. Then there comes a customer who is really angry at you for...

Tales of a Thousand and One Nights...

I know a person who always intends to do lots of things and somehow doesn’t get to it. That person will be me. But I guess (and am pretty sure) that this is fairly recognizable. Willing to do something is not the problem, I really and genuinely intend to do what I plan. It just slips my mind. The problem is I just don’t remember I had an intention. In my former blog I talked about the difference between automatically and consciously started behavior. There are so many stimuli through the day and so many things to remember. It is almost special we remember to do a lot of things that are on our to-do-list. Automatic behavior can help us greatly for it makes the remembering less effortful. Unfortunately to get your desired behavior into a habit isn’t done overnights. Describe your future behavior Implementation intentions are a great way to easily remember planned behavior. They are also a great starting point for future habits. Implementation intentions are intentions that are as specific as possible. To make the remembering as easy as possible, you will have to make the circumstances of your planned behavior as clear and described as you can. This creates much higher chances of actually performing the behavior you planned (Gollwitzer, Gollwitzer and Sheeran). Try to plan where, how and when you will carry out your intended behavior (Gollwitzer, Bayer and McCulloch). Try this formula: “If situation X (where, how and when) occurs, I will demonstrate behavior Y.” All the described characteristics of the surrounding of our planned behavior serve as a reminder for the actual behavior. Optimizing: really tomorrow Making your own implementation intentions is your best option. This way chances are biggest you will...