Around the New Year, it’s customary to set resolutions or intentions. In fact, it’s kind of become a cliché. “New year, new you” and that sort of thing. Losing weight, getting that promotion, or improving self-care — these are just a few of the resolutions you might make. The idea of resolutions has a mixed reputation. Often it has to do with big promises and shaky follow-through. But what if you thought of resolutions simply as goals that relate to a better quality of life and better emotional health? Here are several key ways that resolutions can make a positive difference in your life.
A sense of purpose gives life meaning. Framing your resolution as a goal helps you find your “why.” For example, saying “I want to go to law school so that… ” (insert meaningful “why” here) gives direction and a deep sense of calling to your resolution that will help drive action toward the goal. It’s important that your goals benefit others. Good intentions have to do with generosity and service.
Having clear resolutions and a plan to achieve them helps to improve thinking. The ability to determine and achieve goals is a function that differentiates humans from other living things. Instinct plays a part, but it’s not the only factor. Cultivate your reasoning by practicing goal-setting. It’s also important to nourish your brain and body (including your microbiome) with a nutrient-dense diet in order to support the process. Try doing a search for products such as sunfiber guar gum to give your entire system a boost.
Whether you want to explore distant lands or create something new and innovative at work, it’ll only happen if you make it happen. Each step toward meeting a goal provides a sense of achievement. Coming closer to a goal leads to accomplishment and all of the positive emotions that come from it. Working toward accomplishing goals also creates a sense of community for families, teams, companies, social groups, and nations.
Looking for direction and vision? Make goals. Even better, make them SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound). It’s easier than you think. The feeling of having a destination helps you plan your course with enthusiasm and clarity. Goals help you to make the best use of your resources (that is, your energy, money, and time) and help to short-circuit overwhelm, confusion, and lack of preparation. Also, there’s often a sense of clarity around the new year. Take advantage of that time!
In public life, goals drive progress in many areas; government, law, education, community services, science, education, and public policy. It’s the same in private life as well. Setting goals, even in a light-handed way, helps you to avoid wasted time, confusion, and unnecessary stress.
The sense of joy associated with pursuing goals is well documented. When you are actively engaged in the purposeful pursuit of a goal, your pleasure centers activate regardless of the actual outcome. Getting there brings just as much satisfaction as attaining. Knowing that there’s a benefit no matter what can help relieve anxiety and give you the incentive to take reasonable risks.
Of course, there’s no need to engage in goal-directed activity every moment of your life. Spontaneity is a big part of the enjoyment of being human. It’s good to know, though, that setting goals can help you manage time more effectively so that you have more free time. So consider what you do when you do get free time. Does it relax or energize you, or does it leave you with regret? That’s a good indication of your downtime is truly restorative. If you have a balanced approach to setting goals, you gain an overall feeling of momentum rather than passivity or sluggishness.
Yearly resolutions can help you clarify your direction in life. Consider these factors as you set your goals.