As humans, we are conditioned to crave comfort and stability. Most of us do not strive to put ourselves in situations that could end up being embarrassing or harmful to us. This leads to a phenomenon called ‘status quo bias’. A recent Harvard Business Review article explains this behavioral bias:
“Breaking from the status quo means taking action, and when we take action, we take responsibility, thus opening ourselves to criticism and to regret…Sticking with the status quo represents, in most cases, the safer course because it puts us at less psychological risk.”
As we enter 2018, we have the opportunity to re-set our decisions and thought processes. In what areas are you clinging to the ‘status quo’ that could be holding you back? Consider a few examples:
- Are you are holding an individual stock that you would never buy today, but don’t want to sell because of the emotional attachment of the position?
- Are you not keeping a monthly budget because you are worried about its effect on your spending habits?
- Are you continuing to sink money and/or time into a project that is failing, because you don’t want to accept that it is a failure?
- Are you avoiding starting a new habit, such as exercising or dieting, because you enjoy your current lifestyle?
It takes courage to break our routine and habits, but not doing anything about them is a decision in itself. Explore your decisions with a clean slate. If you were starting over today, would you still make the same decisions if they were brand new? I know there are some decisions that I would change. Having the courage to just change one could lead you to a new and improved status quo in 2018.