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Lead Your Team Personal Growth

Research Reveals the Key to New Year’s Resolution Success

Got a New Year’s Resolution for your business? Stop wasting money, going green, firing that useless employee? If you want a better shot at keeping it, you should really be asking yourself “why” you want to achieve your goal, rather than “how” you’re going to achieve it.

That’s the finding of new research that concludes that when it comes to resolutions what matters most is thinking about why you want to reach a particular goal.

Planning can actually make you more narrow minded,” said researcher Julie Bayuk at the University of Delaware.  In other words, you can become so focused on your plan to achieve success that when there are other opportunities to achieve the same goal, you might not take advantage of them, Bayuk said.

Bayuk gives the example of losing weight, a goal that can be reached through numerous avenues. If a dieter plans to restrict her calorie intake she might pass up the opportunity to join a friend at the gym or run with her dog.

As the annual resolution-making season approaches, Bayuk recommends bucking traditional thinking about planning how you're going to achieve your goal. Instead, she suggests, put yourself in the right mindset about why you're resolving to do something and use that thinking to attempt to stay there. Try placing notes in strategic spots with reminders about why your resolution matters, Bayuk said.

Bayuk’s research was recently published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Jeanette Mulvey

Jeanette has been writing about business for more than 20 years. She has written about every kind of entrepreneur from hardware store owners to fashion designers. Previously she was a manager of internal communications for Home Depot. Her journalism career began in local newspapers. She has a degree in American Studies from Rutgers University. Follow her on Twitter @jeanettebnd.