I was asked to help put together some thoughts on how to best keep your New Year’s Eve Resolutions for 2016. Here are three ideas that might help which are grounded in solid Psychological research:
- Be sure your resolutions are in line with what you value. Too often people say they want to lose 20 pounds but when you look at their life they’ve never demonstrated healthy living is something they value. They see it as something they “have” to do, not something they value. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a resolution to lose 20 pounds, but you need to connect that goal to what you value. Do you value family time traveling to unique places around the world? Connecting a more healthy you to the fact it allows you to walk around these places more freely and without issue is what you want to do. We will continue to pursue our goals when we connect them to what we value.
- Make sure your resolutions are turned into daily habits and routines. In the above suggestion I recommended connecting the resolution to something greater that you value, now I am suggesting you break it down into smaller bite sized daily, weekly, and monthly actions. Do you want to write a book in 2016? Every day you should write “some” amount of words on a piece of paper. Your daily task might be to write 500 words every day. Do you want to find another job? Every day you must commit yourself to looking for 3 new leads. When you break your resolution down to daily, weekly, and monthly tasks you have a better chance of actually achieving your goal. If you merely have values in your life and never set goals (resolutions) then they remain nebulous ideas. If you only have goals with no action items connected to them they are nothing more than a wish list. If you have values defined by goals which have action items connected to them, you have potential success.
- The last thing to keep in mind is you need a growth mindset when approaching goals, not a fixed mindset. Carol Dweck did a great deal of research on what allows certain people to succeed and others to fail in a number of life’s pursuits. She found people with a growth mindset saw their goals and tasks as puzzles and challenges to solve and learn from. Fixed mindset people saw them as hurdles and tests about their personal value. This significantly impacts how we view failure. Let’s face it, while pursuing your goals you’re going to fail. Will you view failure as a judgement about who you are as or will you see it as a way to learn how to do things differently? Growth mindset people see failure as a way to learn, adjust their plan of attack, and go after what they want.
Here’s to a better you in 2016!