No Resolutions: A Better Way to Set Goals for the New Year

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Have you stuck with your 2017 New Year’s resolutions? It’s okay, we didn’t either — and in fact, neither did the majority of those who set resolutions last winter. While about 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions each year, only about 8 percent succeed. [Reuters]

New Year’s resolutions are usually a long list of vague, long-term, and high-minded goals. We resolve to omit indulgences, exercise daily, save money, and otherwise achieve perfection in all areas of life. The resolutions we make are usually great long-term goals – but often, they’re unrealistic, numerous, not measurable, and don’t have a specific deadline.

Here’s how to set smarter goals in 2018, and avoid the resolutions trap.

Let go of the “all-or-nothing” mentality
Life isn’t all-or-nothing — and your approach to goals, self-care, and self-improvement shouldn’t be, either. If right now you only exercise once a week, resolving to exercise every day might not be sustainable. But resolving to make it to the studio three times a week would be a great goal.

Measure your progress
Find a way to measure your progress towards achieving a goal – on your calendar, in your smartphone notes, or anywhere you can keep track of your progress. Measure (and celebrate!) each milestone.

Have a growth mindset
Set growth goals (those that look forward to achieving something) instead of avoidance goals (those that are based on maintaining a current state or avoiding a negative change). Make sure your goals are focused on one positive objective you want to achieve.

Accept failure
If you miss a day (or even a week) of workouts, skimp your self-care routine, or sneak an indulgence here and there, accept it as part of your process of forming new habits. Focus on progress, not perfection – and plan for the occasional slip-up. You can always choose again, every time you slip up.

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