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As it’s January, we can’t really talk about anything other than new years resolutions.

Or more specifically, what science suggests being beneficial when it comes to making sure you don’t fail this year!
You, like many others will write down some big kick-ass goals to achieve, but then fail to follow through with once the newly found motivation on January 1st disappears.

This as you can imagine is very common and perhaps stems from the type of goal(s) itself. Hochli et al (2019) investigated two types of goals that you need to focus on:

1) Subordinate goals – short(er) term specific ‘concrete’ goal setting, i.e. our new years resolution.

2) Superordinate goals – what you value and desire to be. This is considered a very long, open ended goal.

This implies that you should be more motivated to carry out your short term specific goals when they are linked to your long term superordinate goals. I.e. you can’t have one without the other. Reportedly, this helps resolve goal conflicts, prioritisation and inhibit temptations as it’s congruent with your values.

If we have weak-assed, superficial goals to either please or impress someone, they won’t last as it’s not important for your ‘sense of self’.

It’s been suggested that superordinate goals are less motivating to initiate new behaviours, but are needed to sustain a behaviour. This further solidifies the need to have a short term, high motivation goal. In this sense, you should get the best of both as they’ll be greatly intertwined.

Goal example: I want to represent my country this year.

1) List 3 reasons why you want to pursue your new goal (superordinate) – I.e. to earn more money and better provide for my family.

2) From this list, order them from most important to least important.

3) Form a superordinate goal, such as ‘I want to be a person who…’

4) List 3 concrete actions/steps how you’re going to pursue this goal (subordinate). I.e. I’m going to drop 5kg of body fat this month so I’m faster and more agile.

5) Similarly, list these actions/steps in order of importance.

6) Pick one at a time and implement.

The main take home here is to ensure that you’re goals are extremely meaningful and are congruent with your values and long term vision of self – If you do this effectively, you’ll have a much better chance of winning this year.

As cliche as it sounds, you need to know your ‘why’.

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