How to Use Peer Pressure to Achieve Your Goals

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”  – Bruce Lee

In today’s society, peer pressure often gets a bad rap. It’s usually associated with why we make poor decisions: everything from alcohol abuse to excessive spending can be caused by peer pressure. We are taught from a young age to resist peer pressure; that we should be ourselves and not bow down to pressure from others.

Unfortunately, it’s a battle that most of us will never win. Humans are social creatures by nature, and peer pressure will always play an important role in how we interact with each other. However, the good news is that there is more and more research out there showing the positive effects of peer pressure. Because peer pressure is such a big influence, we can use its influence to promote healthier and better behaviors, such as achieving our goals. Below are a few techniques using peer pressure that you can use to help you achieve your goals.

Share Your Goals With Others

share spelled out in scrabble letters

Sharing your goals allows you to create additional accountability for your actions. If you’re the only one who knows about your goal, it can be easy to push your goals off until later. But it becomes a lot harder if you’ve told others. You are now accountable to others – and you risk disappointing them or embarrassing yourself if you don’t follow through. In fact, a 2015 study by Dominican University showed that people who sent weekly updates about their goals to a friend were twice as likely to achieve their goals vs people who kept their goals to themselves.

However, this does not mean broadcasting your goals to all your Facebook friends or Instagram followers. Instead, additional studies have shown that publicly announcing goals can actually be detrimental – simply stating that you want to achieve vague goals such as “live healthier” or “lose weight” does not actually help you achieve them. To fully capture this sharing benefit, you need to do the following:

  • Don’t just share your overall goal, share your implementation plan: sharing the daily/weekly tactics that you are trying to do, such as walk 10K steps a day, run 5 miles 3 times a week, etc. is much more effective than just saying your goal is to lose weight.
  • Share with people who will actually care about your progress towards your goal. These are people who will not only celebrate your accomplishments, but are also willing to send you the less pleasant reminders and encouragement for when you are struggling to keep to your plan.

Find People With Similar Goals

guys running together

Going beyond just finding friends to share your goal, sharing your goal with friends who also have the same goal is even better. Many of you may be familiar with the concept of workout buddies, which have been shown to be effective in increasing motivation and performance of all the parties involved. It doesn’t have to be limited to fitness. The same effect can be applied to any goal you can imagine. For example, if you have a goal to wake up earlier, find someone who has a similar goal and call each other every morning to keep each other accountable.

In addition, this person will have a better understanding of what you are going through than someone who doesn’t have this goal. They will likely have their own strategies on how to achieve the goal and be willing to share that knowledge with you. Through this knowledge sharing, you may also discover better or more efficient paths to achieving your goal.

Use Competition To Stay Motivated

winner medal

Sometimes, sharing goals might not be enough – you need something else to keep you going. You may be one of those people who is very competitive, and that spirit competition drives you to push yourself more than if you were doing this alone. Competition can be a great way to make achieving goals more fun and keep you motivated longer. There are couple of ways to do this:

  • Compete on the exact same activity. For example, your friends all wants to walk more, so you do a simple step count challenge.
  • Compete on a broader set of activities. It can sometimes be hard to find people who are doing exactly what you are doing. For example, you like running, but some friends go to the gym more often, whereas others do swimming. Create a competition where participants get 1 point for every mile run, 5 points for going to the gym, and 1 point for every 500 meters swam. This way, more people can participate and compete in the same competition while doing what they want do.
  • Work together towards a common goal. For example, all of your friends have goals to save money. It may not make sense to compete to see who saves the most (everyone may want to save a different amount), but instead choose an overall target ($2000/month) and everyone contributes towards reaching that target.
work together fist bump

The most important factor to consider is that the competition must be competitive. If one person always wins, then the competition gets really boring really fast. One way to manage this is to create teams. Everyone might be at a different skill level, but at least you can match experts with beginners to create balanced teams. This way, everyone still feels like they are contributing and no one team will necessarily always win the competition.

WeAchieve is an accountability platform helping people set goals and stay accountable in the Age of Distraction. Feel free to try our (free) iOS app or our web platform, and check out our blog for more tips and wisdom on how to achieve more.

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