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The New Year season rings in the great cheer of festive holiday activities with colleagues, friends, and family, in addition to rejuvenating opportunities for self-care as we kick off a fresh rotation around the sun. This season is also a time where many strategize and enact resolutions for the year ahead.
In a recent survey for the 2019 year, researchers interviewed 2,000 people and found that some of the top resolutions were: dieting or eating healthier (71%), exercising more (65%), losing weight (54%), and saving more and spending less (32%). While many will start off strong with these resolutions at the beginning of the year, Revzin & Revzin in 4 Ways to Make Sure You Keep Your Resolutions recommend that roughly 8% of people are successful at keeping their proposed resolutions.
The numbers are slim, but what if I was to tell you that in addition to setting resolutions for the new year there’s a strategy we can implement to ensure that more of us stay on course to achieve our resolutions? How might you ask? A strategy that can aid in transforming our realities and drawing us closer to sustaining new and improved habits is identifying our Anti-Goals.
Anti-Goals—a concept that caught fire in an article shared by Tiny founder Andrew Wilkinson—use the power of inversion to illuminate that problems can also be solved when they are reversed. This concept resulted from Wilkinson and fellow managing partner Chris Sparling identifying their true goals and realizing that in their simplest form, their greater goal was to enjoy their time at work.
Wilkinson and Sparling coined this concept after hearing a familiar saying Warren Buffet’s business partner, Charlie Munger, often vocalizes:
…tell me where I’m going to die, so I’ll never go there.
By identifying what Munger didn’t want to do he advises that solutions to his problems became more apparent.
Although Wilkinson and Sparling’s Anti-Goals were specific to work, there is a huge parallel that can be found when thinking about why it’s a national tradition to set New Year’s resolutions. In their simplest form, resolutions help us grow closer to leading more healthy, fulfilling, and enjoyable lives. However, with a moment’s notice life can occasionally give us a nudge, distractions take a greater stage, and resolve can wane. By being intentional and keeping in mind things to avoid, it’s easier to remain steadfast and fulfill proposed resolutions.
Here is an example of a few Anti-Goals for some of 2019’s survey of the top 10 resolutions:
- Spending more and avoiding creating a savings plan for future goals and aspirations (like buying a home, investing in career and business endeavors, or more).
- Misallocating time and neglecting to learn new skills or hobbies.
- Consistently eating foods that throw off a balanced equilibrium.
- Minimally spending time with family, friends, colleagues, and supporters.
- Experiencing the diminishing returns of scientifically identified outcomes that can occur from not exercising (i.e. lethargy, increased injuries, greater proclivity to disease, and more).
Below are resolutions for the Anti-Goals listed above (not presented in any specific order):
- Saving more and spending less
- Learning new skills and hobbies
- Losing weight
- Spending more time with family and friends
- Exercising more
And “abracadabra” (insert visual of magic wand waving) there you have it. A familiar tactic with a fairly new term to help New Year’s resolutions remain center stage. Again, of course, life isn’t perfect and occasionally we want a “cheat day” or a break from the larger mission… That’s okay, but Anti-Goals can help make the bounce back quicker and promote sustained powerful longterm gains.
Cheers to increasing the statistic from 8% who successfully keep their New Year’s resolutions to many more.
January 4, 2019 at 06:33PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs