Now that the new year has finally arrived, many people have set out to make new year’s resolutions in hopes of changing their current circumstances. Many people set courageous and audacious goals that involve quitting behaviors that no longer serve them anymore. While this is a very ambitious and admirable task, another way of approaching goal setting may help in reaching your goals.
Setting goals that involve quitting behaviors is known as setting avoidance goals. Precision Nutrition cofounder, Dr. John Berardi, explains why setting avoidance goals can be counterproductive to your efforts.
Instead of setting avoidance goals, Dr. John Berardi insists on setting approach goals. Approach goals involve adding behaviors that can replace the action that no longer serves you. An example of this with nutrition may be adding in a couple servings of vegetables for dinner instead of avoiding eating cake after dinner altogether. In this situation, eating more vegetables would help you feel more full and consequently, lead to eating less cake after dinner. It’s not about avoiding the unwanted behavior (eating cake), rather it’s about including more wanted and healthy behaviors (eating vegetables) that will eventually heave out the unwanted behaviors.
In his book, ‘Change Maker,’ Dr. Berardi also advises writing down why adding the new behavior is beneficial to you. Why would adding in vegetables be beneficial to you? Adding vegetables will help you feel more full, get more fiber, get more nutrients, and also tastes good when prepared correctly. Make a list of your own that may or may not include these reasons listed above. Using approach goals and reflecting on the importance of them puts you in a more psychologically-pleasant state than using avoidance goals.
There are many more factors to consider when setting goals, but this is an important starting point to consider. Try approaching your new year’s resolutions this year with an approach mindset instead of an avoidance mindset. Ultimately, our ability to succeed starts with our self-efficacy: our belief in our own ability to succeed. Use this small tip to increase your self-efficacy and increase the chances of you succeeding in pursuing your new year’s resolutions.
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