The impact of new year’s resolutions is unfortunately predictable: Most of them fail. Why is it so hard to stick to resolutions and achieve goals? The biggest mistakes are made in clarifying good goals:

  • It’s actually not your goal, but the goal of someone else. The fire in your belly to follow through in the face of major obstacles only comes from goals you’re passionate about yourself.
  • The goal is too big, and is therefore not accepted by the subconscious part of your brain. A castle in the sky provides pleasant day dreaming material, but seriously lacks the energy to get moving. Make your goals smaller instead.
  • The goal is expressed in negative terms, such as “I will stop smoking.” The subconscious can’t register a negative statement, and actually interprets this goal as an incentive to do the opposite of what you want to achieve. Therefore, always define your goals in positive terms.

Finally, if you want to do goal setting right, the big secret is to define what you need to become in order to achieve your goals.

For example, if you want to have a promotion at work, ask yourself which behaviors  and skills will help you most to be worthy of a promotion. Think of being a better presenter, or improve your listening skills. Then set specific goals to become better at these behaviors and skills, one step at a time.

Each year has 365 days. The most important resolution is to use of all of them.

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