New Year, New Goals
As we say goodbye to 2018, we greet 2019 with a set of goals and resolutions to hold us over until the next January. We wake up on the 1st and treat it as if it is the first day of the rest of our lives. We set goals that the old versions of us could never accomplish, with the hopes that the year changing will give us the motivation to finally pay off that debt or quit that bad habit. For a lot of us, these goals are long forgotten by mid-year and kept in the back of our minds until the next year comes around. Even though we may think that this is normal, and everyone goes through this, there are large groups of people who are able to pay off that car or finally quit smoking just as they stated they would in the beginning of the year.
Studies show that individuals who pursue long-term goals often need an immediate reward to stay consistent and finish the original goal1. This means that if you set a goal, such as reaching a new weight goal, you need something instantly in order to keep you motivated to reach the delayed rewards for fulfilling the goal. In the example pertaining to reaching a certain weight goal, you could notice your clothes fitting a bit bigger than normal and this will motivate you to continue even if it will be a longer amount of time to notice something new from the increased exercise and diet changes.
This idea of immediate rewards also pertains to creating and finishing projects in the community. When a goal was created for an African American community in Richmond, Virginia to lower the alcoholism in the community, the leaders created smaller goals to start. The first goal was to ban the sales of 40-ounce alcohol beverage in the community’s high-risk areas, and this ultimately helped to reach the larger long-term goal of defeating alcoholism2.
So whatever goals you set, make sure to have smaller rewards along the way to keep you motivated to reach the end goal. This will be effective in completing everything you have your mind set on and make 2019 your year!
1 Woolley, K., & Fishbach, A. (2016). Immediate Rewards Predict Adherence to Long- Term Goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,43(2), 151-162.
2Graham, P. W., Kim, M. M., Clinton-Sherrod, A. M., Yaros, A., Richmond, A. N., Jackson, M., & Corbie-Smith, G. (2015). What is the role of culture, diversity, and community engagement in transdisciplinary translational science? Translational Behavioral Medicine,6(1), 115-124.