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Why We Make Resolutions

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Like many of us, I have spent the last several days thinking and dreaming about the new year. What would I like to accomplish? What steps would I take to get there? How should I plan out my work days to achieve those goals? I truly enjoy that feeling of anticipation, of getting ready, of the timeless moment before you take that first step. Of looking in the mirror at the future you and getting excited about what you see!

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, pursue a goal, start a business or simply make some healthy changes, the first step is simply deciding to do it. Make a commitment. However, for many of us, that’s about as far as it goes without some purposeful guidance. If it were as easy as all that we’d all be successful, and no one would ever need to seek out coaching or read a self-help book.

My guess is you’ve been to this rodeo before and already know you need some structure in place in order to make change happen.

We all feel instinctively drawn to new beginnings – new weeks, new months, and yes, New Years – as a good time to reset and make changes. As it turns out, there’s a good reason for that.

In a series of studies, forthcoming from the journal Management Science, researchers found that fresh starts do push us to change our behavior. The beginning of a week, a month, or a year forms what the psychologist Richard Thaler calls a “notational boundary.” With that, researchers suspect, comes a sense of optimism, the promise of “a new me,” as Milkman put it.

However, researchers also found that people without a clear plan were more likely to fall off the wagon. Optimism fluctuates. We underestimate the time and tenacity it requires to achieve those goals. We have a better chance of sticking to a goal if we follow a plan.

This is where you are in luck, because you are part of a community of people who are all ready to support you! Lean on your coaches at Dark Horse – whatever your goal might be, we can help you make a concrete plan to achieve it.

So why not take advantage of the moment? What is it you want to achieve this year?

Let’s go!

Resources: Why We Make Resolutions (And Why They Fail). New Yorker Magazine, 2020.

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