New Years’ resolutions don’t make for realistic goals

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As we go into a new year, a popular question asked is “What are your New Year’s resolutions?”

A resolution can be defined as a decision to do or refrain from doing something for the upcoming year.

This idea is instilled within our society to categorize years into separate chapters of our lives, which is how we get the idea of ‘new year, new me.’ But what are the direct implications of this mindset?

Having a blank slate can be extremely motivating for many people.

Speaking for myself, I know that I am someone who is more inclined to make some adjustments in these periods of transition that we create for ourselves.

This ‘new year, new me’ mindset, however, just allows us to set goals that may be dropped within a month and then put us back where we were.

New Year’s resolutions give us the ability to procrastinate action.

How often do you hear someone say something along the lines of “I’ll start eating healthier in the new year”? I know I have been guilty of saying this.

Goals can be set and reflection can happen any time of year. Instead, New Year’s resolutions are dropped and then procrastination begins once again.

Goals can vary from looking to start a business, lose or gain weight, travel more, commit to a sleep schedule, eat healthier or just be happy.

The types of goals are limitless, but do ensure you are going after the right goals: goals that don’t hinder your spirit, happiness, mental health, physical health or spiritual health.

When thinking about a goal, an important concept to think about is whether your goal is intrinsic or extrinsic.

This ‘new year, new me’ mindset, however, just allows us to set goals that may be dropped within a month and then put us back where we were.

Intrinsic goals are about doing something that is personally meaningful to you. These goals will fulfill many needs such as community, passion, growth and your core values.

Extrinsic goals can help you achieve something, with a prize at the end. The focus is on the outcome versus the journey.

A common goal going into the new year is to go to the gym more. An extrinsic version of this goal would be working out to impress others, whereas an intrinsic goal would be working out more to improve your health or feel more energized.

My goal this year is to put myself first.

This is personally meaningful to me as I haven’t been someone to do that, and as a result, my mental health has suffered.

I need to make more time for myself  – so that means quitting a job.

I am focusing on getting a good amount of sleep instead of staying up late at night doing various tasks, plus many other ways I am going to focus on putting myself first.

So what is the reasoning behind your goals? What is your ‘why?’ Knowing the ‘why’ of your goal is important for determining what is fulfilling for you.

More people follow through with intrinsic goals over their extrinsic ones. This is because they are fulfilling something that feels better on a psychological level.

As you go into 2020, take time to reflect on your goals and the reason behind them. Ask yourself what they are fulfilling for you. Figure out your “how.”

If you have a process, you will be more likely to follow through with them. It is also important to state that although it can be positive, New Year’s is not the only time to reflect and set goals.

So if your process doesn’t seem to be working, or you lose your motivation, reflect again.

Don’t wait until 2021 to make a new goal that you may give up on a month in.


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