Get In a Good Mindset Before Setting New Goals
December 30, 2020
For many, the holidays are a chance to cherish what you most hold dear, eat good food, rest, and recharge. Then comes the new year, a time of beginnings. Whether you’re strict about setting resolutions and committing to a goal or take a more lax approach about what you want to accomplish in the new year, it can still feel like the perfect time for a fresh start. Whether you set stringent milestones for yourself or just scribble down a few loose goals, the mindset you bring when setting them can make all the difference.
Throughout the 21st century, one idea that has become increasingly popular is the “Law of Attraction.” This concept arose from a philosophy movement that has been ongoing since the 19th century and purports that a positive attitude will draw good things into your life, while a negative attitude will bring negative outcomes.
There’s absolutely no scientific evidence that a sunshine disposition will manifest a raise or new job title. However, science has connected happiness and positive thinking to numerous benefits, including heightened creativity, increased immunity, and better resilience overall. According to Verywell Mind, though, too much optimism may lead people to bite off more than they can chew, eventually causing extra stress and anxiety.
Still, if you’re ready to achieve your resolutions in the coming year, an optimistic outlook may help when it comes time to set those goals. In an interview with Entrepreneur, Shawn Achor, author and advocate for positive psychology, suggested listing previous accomplishments before you even begin writing resolutions. Taking a moment to celebrate your past accomplishments helps your successes feel more tangible. In turn, this perceived success can make your goals feel more realistic to achieve—and provide more motivation to reach them.
This is backed by research on creativity. Though many studies link positivity and creativity, psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman writes that happiness isn’t the only emotion that motivates creativity. Another important component is motivational intensity, which results from extreme emotions like desire or disgust. Essentially, setting goals you feel passionate about while in a positive mood may help motivate you to achieve them.
It’s important to set realistic goals, too. Feeling stress and anxiety as a result of setting lofty goals certainly isn’t desirable—nobody wants to end up in a spiral of despair because they couldn’t stick to a resolution. Instead, Julia Guerra at Business Insider suggests setting a few small, specific goals and making time frames for each. Additionally, though you may want to make intentions while in a good mood, it’s important not to link future accomplishments to expectations of happiness. There’s no need to stake your happiness on the accomplishment of arbitrary goals.
Still, keeping an open mind and a good attitude can help you start off your year on the right foot and take full advantage of the fresh start. Whatever your resolution may be, we hope you’re able to achieve it and more in the coming year. Here’s to a happy and healthy new year.