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R.A.V.E. or Part II of Stickiness to your New Year's Resolution

Setting goals facilitates giving our life more meaning, purpose, and direction. A turn of the calendar to a New Year provides us with a timely opportunity to take stock of our present reality and move in the direction of greater wellbeing.

So how should you pick a New Year's Resolution?

R.A.V.E about it! Choose your Ritual, select your Approach, identify your Value, and Enjoy!

  • Consider your deepest VALUES and the life domain you'd like to dedicate INTENTIONAL ENERGY to in the coming year (e.g., Serenity? Thriving family? Job tranquility? Leadership? Meaningful work?). You cannot do it all so it's best to pick one meaningful life domain.

  • Create a resolution RITUAL in your domain of choice. To create a ritual, define very precise behaviors and the times to perform them. Why rituals? Because change is hard and we would benefit from making our lives easier. While initiating a ritual is often difficult, maintaining it is relatively easy. For most people, brushing their teeth twice a day took a lot of prompting and reminders from parents, but at some point brushing our teeth at least twice a day became a ritual that does not require special powers of discipline. Successful people have rituals. Top athletes have rituals. We need to take the same approach toward resolutions. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit,” said Aristotle.

  • Frame your resolution in terms of an APPROACH goal. Make your resolution about an expression of your desire to approach success rather than avoid something negative. For instance, exercising for better health or to be stronger is an example of approach thinking; while exercising to prevent obesity is an avoidance goal. Research suggests that avoidance goals are typically less enjoyable. People are also less likely to pursue avoidance goals and more likely to procrastinate. Remember, change is hard and we would benefit from making our lives easier, thus frame your language to increase success.

  • Pick a resolution that you will ENJOY thinking about, working toward, and savoring! Maybe share your resolution with those in your circle of trust? Maybe even post it for your friends, acquaintances, family, and the world to see? You are in the driver seat in terms of picking your resolution and deciding who to share it with!

To further increase the likelihood of stickiness, make your resolution explicit and write it down as people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions and a written goal brings clarity and focus.


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