As the year draws to a close, most of us have begun to reflect on ourselves and any potential New Year’s resolutions – losing weight, quitting smoking, or vowing to keep the house cleaner in case of unexpected visitors.
Now, you and I both know we don’t always accomplish these goals or resolutions. So, what can you do this year to change that? Use the power of your own body language, of course!
A recent study suggests that standing in a powerful pose for as little as one minute not only leads you to perceive yourself as more powerful and a decrease in the level of stress hormones in your body, but also increases your tolerance for risk (Carney, Cuddy & Yap, 2010). And starting a New Year’s resolution can definitely be seen as taking a risk! Resolutions often involve a change in habits and a change in lifestyle; for many of us, that can be quite a risk as habits can be hard to change.
What do you need to do with your own body language to bring out this sense of power and become a risk-taker at the turn of the New Year? (I’m not necessarily talking skydiving and bungee-jumping risk-taking, but if that’s your New Year’s resolution, then go for it!) First, let’s review a couple of basic power moves.
- The Superman Pose – this move gives off tons of confidence and not only makes you look powerful, but feel powerful as well! Stand with your feet at least 6 inches apart, and put your hands on your hips. BAM! You’re instantly Superman or Superwoman. Standing in this position also makes you like a short, fat candle. If someone bumped into a table with this type of candle on it, it’s very unlikely the candle will fall over (as opposed to a tall, skinny candle, embodied by someone with his feet very close together and hands held in front of him, which would instantly fall over if a table were bumped).
- The Full Frontal – this move involves standing the same way as above, but this time with your hands at your sides or behind your back. By not letting your hands or arms cover up any of your power zones (neck dimple, belly button or naughty bits) you let others – and yourself – know that you do not feel threatened in a particular situation. This move also exudes tons of confidence.
Now, think about a New Year’s resolution you’d really like to take control of this year. How about the very popular “start exercising and get fit?” As 2012 nears, think about your resolution, stand in front of the mirror for a minute or so and take on one of the poses mentioned above. (Well hello there, good lookin’!) Then, when you take it one step farther and are getting ready to actually go to the gym at the turn of the year, do the same thing. By standing confidently, you’ll increase your risk-taking tolerance and hopefully jump on that treadmill and be confident that you will become fitter as you continue to develop your new habit. Not only can you turn your gym-going into a new habit, but your power move can become a habit!
Apply these power moves to work, too. Want to work harder this year in order to get that promotion you’ve been wanting? Stand and sit in confident poses at the office to show that you mean business and aren’t a pushover or someone who doesn’t take your work seriously.
I know what I’m going to do once I decide on a resolution, and I hope you do too! Until then, enjoy the holidays!