Members in the Media
From: The Washington Post

Positive thinking isn’t all-powerful. Penalty for failure may help more in reaching goals.

The Washington Post:

It’s that time of year when New Year’s resolutions begin to fade, and even the best-laid plans can become sidetracked as life gets busy. But as psychologists and behavioral economists have found reasons why it’s so easy to let good intentions slide, they’ve also come up with tools to help.

As counterintuitive as it may sound, many resolutions fail due to positive thinking, says Gabriele Oettingen, a psychologist at New York University. Her research has shown that optimistic thinking can actually hamper your drive to succeed.

“We found that positive dreams and fantasies are not only not helpful, but they might actually hurt,” Oettingen says. Further studies suggest that mental contrasting helps goal-setters prepare to deal with potential setbacks, while simply thinking positive thoughts can make them feel less energized to tackle obstacles. “It seems that people who are positively fantasizing about the future might be enjoying future success in the here and now, and they can become so relaxed that they don’t get serious about addressing obstacles,” Oettingen says.

Read the whole story: The Washington Post

More of our Members in the Media >

APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website. Effective February 2021, you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations present in article comments are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of APS or the article’s author. For more information, please see our Community Guidelines.

Please login with your APS account to comment.