Study Reveals The Exact Strategies Successful People Use to Conquer Challenges

Almost anything worth having takes time and effort. It can be a long, grueling process, and many of us are tempted to quit multiple times along the way. But we have all encountered individuals who seem to achieve almost any goal they set. What are the strategies of successful people that give them this superpower? A big thank you to The British Psychological Society for providing the basis and some of the language in this intel.

 

THE STUDY

In a large scale study, the University of Zurich asked participants what strategies they used to conquer a challenging scenario, such as a treadmill run. They compiled these answers into 19 of the most common results.

These were split into two categories: “situation modification strategies” (changing your body chemistry, location, tools, etc.) and “attentional deployment strategies” (motivational self-talk or manipulating thought patterns).

 

TOP SUCCESS METHODS

The researcher asked 250 participants to record the challenges they encountered over a week, the strategies they used to push through them, and if they were successful. The top methods were:

1 – Thinking about the positive consequences of getting to the end; reminding yourself about why you’ve decided to approach this task, and the wards of completion.

2 – Monitoring one’s goal progress; thinking that the end is near, and watching yourself take steps towards finishing.

3 – Emotion regulation; trying to stay in a good mood through a variety of different unstated strategies.

Finding ways to distract yourself from the challenge was actually correlated with less success. The assumption is that distracting yourself with more pleasurable thoughts or activities could lead to you avoiding the task or giving up completely.

Some of these findings go against previous research. Many psychologists believed that too much of a focus on the end reward of a task wouldn’t hold up over time, as it relies on something external. Instead, you may have heard the advice to find pleasure in the process, staying in the moment and enjoying the work.

 

HOW YOU CAN SUCCEED

This study may show that focusing on the end goal is helpful when the challenge is unavoidably uncomfortable and grueling. But if the work could be considered enjoyable in any way, learning to love the day-to-day grind will make you more successful in the long term.

So at the end of the day, if you want to conquer any challenge: keep your eye on the prize at every moment, track your progress as your work bears fruit, and do whatever you can to keep a positive attitude throughout the process.

 

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OTHER COMMON STRATEGIES

And because it’s interesting, here are the rest of the 19 strategies that are most commonly used by all people to get through the tough stuff:

Situation Modification Strategies

1 – Changing the activity itself
2 – Changing the environment
3 – Reducing distractions
4 – Seeking social support
5 – Taking a substance
6 – Task enrichment (e.g. adding music)

Attentional Deployment Strategies

7 – Adopting a process focus
8 – Distracting oneself from the activity
9 – Anticipating self-reward
10 – Focusing on negative consequences
11 – Focusing on positive consequences
12 – (Sub) goal setting
13 – Monitoring one’s goal progress
14 – Planning and scheduling
15 – Reappraisal
16 – Self talk
17 – Thinking of the sub-goal finish
18 – Suppressing the impulse to quit
19 – Emotion regulation

 

FREE TOOL TO CRUSH CHALLENGES

Keep your head up, conquerors. Look at all the things everyone around you is doing to try and get through the tough stuff. Everyone is fighting a battle. Focus on your own, help others when you can, and embrace getting close and closer to success as you learn what works for you.

One of the most important strategies listed was setting goals and monitoring your progress. That’s why we built this one-pager downloadable worksheet, Game Plan. In just a few minutes, you’ll be able to outline your goal, build out sub-goals, set deadlines, brainstorm tasks, and design a weekly routine that will bring you right to the finish line. Download here:

DOWNLOAD GAME PLAN TO BUILD A PLAN AND ACCOMPLISH ANY GOAL

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