How to Use SMS Messaging to Avoid False Hope Syndrome in 2017
Sometime in the next few weeks, about 50% of us will make resolutions to improve our lives. According to Mark Griffiths from Nottingham Trent University, there are reasons only 10% of the people keep them for any length of time. But you can use SMS messaging to help you be one of the few.
Griffiths says, “The main reason that people don’t stick to their resolutions is that they set too many or they’re unrealistic to achieve. They may also be victims of ‘false hope syndrome’”. He goes on to define it as people setting idealistic expectations on their ability to change behaviours. The secret to avoiding that pitfall is to focus on one thing at a time, put supports in place, and understand there will be ups and downs.
How Can SMS Messaging Help?
One of the most useful aspects of fastsms is the ability to schedule messages in advance. This means you can use it much like a task manager or a to-do list reminder service. Just like you can set alerts to go off in a calendar or to-do app, you can schedule SMS messages to be sent at a certain time and with a specified frequency.
The next question you’re probably thinking is “Why would I use SMS for that when I can just use my calendar or another app”? That boils down to the difference between notifications and SMS messages.
Most SMS messages are read quickly after they arrive. Notifications, on the other hand, are often considered “annoying” and properly ignored. Basically, we’ve trained ourselves to check and respond to SMS messages as they arrive. Notifications, not so much.
So, if you usually set resolutions but find you give up early on, switching techniques might be what helps you get over the initial time it takes to build a new habit (or break an old one).
A Few Examples
In 2016, the top three resolutions in the UK were to get more exercise, eat healthier, and drink less (alcohol I presume). Since I’m stumped on how SMS messaging can help you drink less (more would be easy!), I’m going to skip that one and use number four: learn new things.
If you resolve to exercise more, you can focus in on one aspect of exercise like walking at lunchtime or getting up and stretching once every hour at work. Once you’ve picked a specific activity you’ll want to decide on when and how often you want to receive reminders. Next, you can write a motivating message you schedule to send to yourself at the appropriate time.
Walking at lunch? Schedule the message to arrive two minutes before you want to leave. That’s enough time to gather yourself and go, but not long enough to get distracted by the doughnuts left in the break room. You can send the same motivational message to yourself each day of the week, or you can vary the message however you like.
Reminders for a healthy eating resolution could be similar to the exercise example. The differences will be in the timing and frequency. If you know you tend to munch late at night, you’ll want to schedule your messages then. But if you’re the type who splurges at the pub with friends after work, then a reminder to choose the healthier menu items could be just what you need.
The final example I have is using SMS messaging to help you learn more. Once you’ve picked out your specific focus for that goal you can schedule messages to support it. Perhaps you decide to read one book a month. You can set a reminder to go to the library and find a book to read. Then set follow up reminders to let you know when you’re halfway through your time, and then again just before the book is due back at the library (this could save you in fees as well!). And if you really need motivation, a daily reminder to read a set number of pages could keep you on track too.
So, these examples are based on you motivating yourself – but what if it’s a part of your business to motivate others (e.g. Slimming Club, Personal Trainer, Tutor or Local Library)? Then it’s exactly the same – you could, and should be using SMS to keep your clients on track.
It's All Up To You
In the end, keeping your resolutions is all up to you. Creating new habits is difficult, but there are tools, like SMS messaging, that can help. So spend some time planning over the next few weeks, set up your free SMS account with fastsms and see how easy it is to write and schedule messages. Once you know how many messages you’ll be sending you can top off your account and be successful with your SMS reminders.