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This New Year’s Set Goals, Not Resolutions

With the new year just begun, it’s natural to think about our hopes for the future. However, I suggest that you do not make a resolution. Rather, consider setting goals for the new year instead. What’s the difference, you may ask?

  • Goals leave room for forgiveness. Resolutions have an all-or-nothing element to them, once we break them we tend to throw them out the window. A goal, however, may be easier to forgive yourself if not reached completely or delayed.
  • Goals are positive rather than negative. Behavior is easier to change if stated as what we will do, rather than what we won’t. Instead of resolving not to eat junk food, state it as what you will do. For example, I will only have one piece of candy per week.

Once you’ve decided to set goals for the new year, there are several ways to ensure that you are successful in meeting them:

  • Get specific. For example, don’t just set a goal of losing weight. Instead, set a goal to lose 20 pounds by June 1st.
  • Set mini-goals. Let’s say your goal is to finish writing your book by the end of the year. Such a broad goal would be difficult to measure your progress. Consider breaking goals into at least three mini-goals.
  • Write it out. Goals are more likely to be accomplished if they are written down, so put it on paper.
  • Include daily or weekly tasks. This ensures that our goals are not forgotten about. For example, if getting in shape is your goal, set a mini-goal of exercising for an hour three times per week.
  • Get Support. This can take several forms, having a friend sign your goals, joining an accountability group, to more informal support from friends and family.
  • Place somewhere prominent. Putting your goals somewhere that you will see them often will ensure that your goals remain in the front of your mind.
  • Utilize Technology. Regardless of the nature of your goals, technology can help you schedule your goals and track your progress (which increases motivation). I recommend using the goals portion of google calendar for scheduling and tracking.

Take some time this week to consider what you’d like your future to look like. Then, set goals instead of making resolutions. This will increase your motivation and set the stage for success.

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