As the New Year approaches, we all tend to look back on our year. The highs and lows all come together as you contemplate the next year and what you can do to make the most of it. That’s where the New Year’s resolution comes into play.
The problem? New Year’s resolutions or goals are very hard to achieve! Usually, it starts off wonderfully. But, by the end of winter achieving goals becomes less important than family, friends, and work and are put on the back burner.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make any resolution or set new goals. In fact, there’s an entire branch of psychology, positive psychology, dedicated to the study of happiness and goal setting is a huge part it! Not only will they help you move your life forward, but it can also increase overall happiness by giving you purpose.
So, check out our goal setting tips and get ready for an amazing New Year.
Don’t set too many goals.
Think about all your habits and how long it took you to get them. How long have you been chewing your nails, eating right before bed, or forgetting to floss? Habits are hard to break and new routines are hard to make. So, set yourself up for success by choosing one thing to focus on. It’ll be easier to create your roadmap to success, making it less likely you’ll abandon ship halfway through.
Choose the Right Goal
Material goals that focus on status, beauty, or money are very hard to achieve, especially in a year. That is not to say you should not have these goals. But, they should exist outside your New Year’s resolution because they are simply too hard to achieve short term. Which in turn, may make you feel bad about yourself and less likely to pursue your dreams.
Instead, choose a goal that you think will make a positive change, not only in your life but in the lives around you. You’ll be more likely to keep at it if you feel good about doing it. Positive psychologist Bruce Headley even ran experiments to test if altruistic goals increase happiness and published his finding in “Life Goals Matter to Happiness: A Revision of Set-Point Theory”.
He found that “giving high priority to non-zero sum goals enhances life satisfaction while giving high priority to zero-sum goals lowers it” (20).
So, not only are you more likely to keep altruistic goals, you’ll feel better about it too!
Don’t Settle for an Abstract Goal.
Now, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty. Don’t settle for an abstract goal like “I want to lose weight”, “I want to start my own business”, “I want to travel more”. Instead, apply laser focus to your goal and use action inspiring verbs. For example, “I want to lose weight” becomes “I will lose 15 pounds by next October”, “I want to start a business ” becomes “I will sell 10 shirts by March” and, “I want to travel more” becomes “I want to take a road trip the first weekend of every month and save %5 percent of my paycheck a month until I can go somewhere further”.
Break it Down.
If you want to achieve your New Year’s resolution, you need to break it down and plan it out. Goals are not achieved in one big go, but by steady, day to day work. One of the best ways to visualize and plan out your goal is PositivePsychologyProgram’s SMART Goal-Setting Worksheet. It will help you set your goal, figure out how to measure it, and encourage you to think of the day to day activities you’ll do to achieve your goal.
At the end of the day (or year), it’s not important if you achieve your goal. It is important that you do your best and learn from the experience! That way, you’ll get it next time. Just know, we believe in you!
If you’re interested in learning more about the fascinating and uplifting world of positive psychology, check out the PositivePsycologyProgram. They have tons of free, informative articles and offer free toolkits to help you apply positive psychology to your life.
Life Goals: Why You Should Be Setting Goals In Life. (2018, January 30). Retrieved December 12, 2018, from https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/life-worth-living-setting-life- goals/
Headey, B. (November). Life Goals Matter to Happiness: A Revision of Set- Point Theory. Retrieved December 3, 2018, from https://www.econstor.eu/handle/10419/18532