The start of a new year brings feelings of rejuvenation. This year, let’s commit to feeling rejuvenated year-round.
How? By creating resolutions that will actually last.
How do we do that? By following the research!
Studies show that people who have specific goals before going into a task perform better doing it. For instance, let’s say that two people have the task of painting a room. If one person has the goal, “I’m going to prime the whole room and paint at least one wall,” they’re more likely to accomplish it or at least get close.
The person who set no goals at all is more likely to prime half the room, leave the edges undone, or come to some other unspecified stopping point because they grew tired. Setting specific goals for ourselves helps fight the fatigue of stopping early.
Want resolutions that will actually last this year? Try applying these four concepts.
1. Resolutions that are SPECIFIC
The first step toward making our goals more achievable is by quantifying them. Let’s say our resolution for 2022 is to learn how to play a new instrument. If that’s all we know about our goal, it’s going to be pretty hard to work at it every day.
Think, “What parts of this resolution can I quantify?”
We might come up with a certain number of hours per day that we want to practice, a number of songs we want to learn, a deadline by which to learn our first song, a number of chords to learn, etc.
The more we can specify, the easier our plan will be to follow.
2. Resolutions with a POSITIVE OUTCOME
The next most important part of goal-setting is visualizing the positive outcome we’re looking for. How will learning to play this instrument improve our life overall?
Maybe we’re excited to have a party trick to bust out at holidays. Or we’ve always wanted to feel what it would be like onstage. Maybe we can finally accompany our other musically-inclined friends at shows!
Whatever we’re most excited about, we should visualize clearly in our mind, or even journal about it. This step is the main driver that keeps us motivated enough to achieve our goal.
3. Resolutions with OBSTACLES OUTLINED
If all we do is focus on how excited we’ll be once we reach our goal, we’re not actually using any cognitive effort to get there. That’s why it’s important to think about the obstacles we may run into.
However, thinking about the obstacles and only the obstacles will bog us down and make it feel impossible to get started. It’s important to maintain a balance between steps 2 and 3 here.
4. Resolutions that come with an IF/THEN PLAN
Sometimes, we simply don’t have enough willpower to stick to our goals. We’re only human! No matter how much we want it, we may fall victim to our immediate instinct. Grab the slice of pizza instead of a salad, add the sugary creamer to your coffee instead of forgoing it, start your homework at 8 p.m. instead of 6 p.m., etc.
We should be honest with ourselves—there will be temptations in our way.
That’s why it’s important to have an “if/then” plan. If we don’t have the energy to pick up the instrument one day, then what? Will we just skip the day because we’re feeling unmotivated?
Of course not! Let’s ask ourselves if we don’t have the energy, then we can…
- Listen to a song we want to learn how to play.
- Watch a video of a performer who inspires us.
- Read an educational book on our instrument.
Get creative with the ways you can work towards your resolution even when you run into obstacles. Statistically speaking, having an “if/then” plan greatly improves your chances of accomplishing “hard” goals.
One way to remember this is through the “WOOP” technique.
- Think about your WISH
- Think about your best OUTCOME
- Think about potential OBSTACLES
- Think about your if/then PLAN
Working with a counselor is a great way to hold ourselves accountable and make our dreams a reality. Therapy is a strong start to a new journey with an experienced guide. Get started byhttps://www.dianemelendez.com/contact-diane/ reaching out to my office today.