By now, millions of people have declared their New Year’s resolutions, hoping they will accomplish a long list of goals in the coming year. If you are like most people, New Year’s resolutions rarely are successful and often cause more stress and drama.
In the TED* work, we suggest that people focus on creating outcomes they want rather than setting goals. Learning the gigantic difference between an outcome and a goal will give you a better approach to creating a more fulfilling life in 2013.
Goals are concrete steps based upon something we don’t like and wish was different about our life. When we focus on what we don’t like, our reptilian brain kicks in and immediately works defensively. Talk about starting the New Year in drama! Listen to these typical resolutions:
“I will lose 20 pounds”
“I will get out of debt”
“I will stop fighting with my partner”
Every time you think about losing 20 pounds you subconsciously say to yourself, “I don’t like my body. I know I shouldn’t eat this or that.” Without realizing it you are making yourself a victim of your own thinking.
There’s a better way to begin the New Year. The first step is to create a vision statement of the outcome you desire. The outcome is focused on what you want (rather than what you don’t want). Creating outcome language calms the reptilian brain and sparks positive emotions that motivate us. Outcome language might sound like this:
“I will focus on optimal health and eating”
“I will work toward financial freedom”
“I will listen to and respect my partner”
In this coming year, step away from a Victim Orientation and goals based on avoiding what you don’t want. Rather than persecuting yourself for not reaching your goal, focus instead on a Creator Orientation and language that describes your actual desired outcomes. Give yourself a better chance of creating the life you want. Your brain, and YOU, will love the difference.