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Mom Shares 'Powerful Technique' To Craft New Year's Resolutions That Stick

You can use it when setting personal, family, and relationship goals this year!
PHOTO BYCANVA

2024 is the Year of the Wood Dragon, symbolizing strength, courage, and good fortune. Wood elements embody creativity and imagination. During the celebration, many of us enjoy Chinese delicacies like glutinous rice balls, usually filled with sweet beans, peanuts, or sesame paste, and traditions, including giving and receiving red envelopes filled with lucky money.

It is that time of the year when many of us read our zodiac signs to seek insights on how to be lucky and what lies ahead for us in 2024. We all aspire to be fortunate in life and achieve a long-awaited breakthrough. With high hopes, we strive to make our lives more prosperous and brighter in the coming year.

It's always enjoyable and intriguing to read our zodiac sign and get an idea about our life's course for the year, which ultimately affects our mood, personality, and environment. Reading our zodiac signs can evoke hope, worry, and other emotions. However, we must remember that whatever is written on our Chinese zodiac, whether favorable or not, we have the power to change the course of our lives with our decision-making abilities and actions.

READ ALSO: Top Parenting Resolutions For The New Year: "Hindi Na Po Tayo Magiging Dragon, Ano Po?"

How to craft New Year's resolutions, goals that stick

So, apart from relying on our zodiac sign, it's worth utilizing the Lunar New Year to establish New Year's Resolutions that are practical and realistic and can assist us in achieving our objectives and aspirations for the year. Customize your life!

Implementation intentions are a powerful technique that involves forming specific plans about when, where, and how a person will take action to achieve a goal.

Ever since I started pursuing my master's degree in Psychology, I have been intrigued by the interplay between our thoughts and actions regarding goal-setting. During my research, I came across the work of German psychologists Peter Gollwitzer and Anja Achtziger, who are renowned for their studies on implementation intentions.

What are implementation intentions?

Implementation intentions are a powerful technique that involves forming specific plans about when, where, and how a person will take action to achieve a goal.

It's formulated in an "if-then" format. For example, "If situation X arises, I will perform behavior Y."

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Instead of appealing to the "long term" part of your brain (the wrong part) by saying, "I want to earn more," "I want to be a nicer person," "I want to lose weight," "No more sweets this year," or "I want to be more beautiful," it's time to change the way you write your New Year's goals/resolutions by incorporating the "if-then" technique. Through this, you are addressing the short-term oriented part of your brain, which sustains your habits and day-to-day activity.

Setting SMART goals

The language we use when setting our goals is essential to send the right signals to the different parts of our brain. So be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Related) in writing your resolutions and follow through with your goals using the "if-then" technique.

Let me give you a specific example to provide a clearer view:

NY 2024 Goal: "I want my family to communicate better."

Implementation Intention: "If we're having dinner together and someone brings up a sensitive topic, I will use active listening techniques, ask open-ended questions, and avoid interrupting to ensure everyone feels heard and understood."

In this example:

Specific Situation: Family dinner when a sensitive topic arises.
Specific Action: Using active listening techniques, asking open-ended questions, and avoiding interruptions during the conversation.

Other examples based on the top New Year's resolutions of Filipino parents this 2024:

NY 2024 Goal: "I want to discipline my child positively and effectively."
Implementation Intention: "If my child misbehaves, then I will take a moment to calm myself, talk to them calmly about their behavior, and provide clear consequences related to their actions."

NY 2024 Goal: "I want to minimize the screen time hours of my kids."
Implementation Intention: "If it's weekday evenings after dinner, then I will encourage my kids to engage in non-screen activities, such as reading, playing board games, or outdoor play, for at least one hour before bedtime."

NY 2024 Goal: "I will no longer yell at my kids."
Implementation Intention: "If I feel frustration building up during a disagreement with my kids, then I will take a deep breath, count to five, and calmly express my feelings and expectations."

Crafting your intentions better

Health-related:
Goal: "I want to lose weight"
"If-then": "If I order a burger, I will order a salad with it."

Finance-related:
Goal: "I want to save more money!"
"If-then": "If I receive my paycheck, then I will immediately transfer 10% of it to my savings account before allocating funds for other expenses."

Relationship-related:
Goal: "I want to show more appreciation to my partner."
"If-then": "If my partner accomplishes something significant, then I will immediately express my appreciation by verbally acknowledging their effort and achievement."

A final word: Celebrate small wins

The main objective of this article is to help us realize that writing a resolution does not require us to transform ourselves completely. Our old habits are deeply ingrained and cannot be changed overnight. However, we can gradually improve them by making wise and goal-oriented changes to our daily actions.

Approaching New Year's resolutions with a realistic mindset and an open heart is essential. It's important to recognize that setbacks may occur and to regularly revisit and adjust your resolutions throughout the year to stay on track and adapt to changing circumstances. Whether it's the Lunar New Year or the general calendar New Year, let's remember the new chances and opportunities it brings. We all hope for a better year, but what's most important is taking care of your mental health and considering small progress as a win.

Increase your motivation. You know yourself better than anyone else. I believe in you. Your family believes in you. Gear up and get ready to drive fast and furious in 2024, lucky or not!

Victoria Dang is a mom of two, and a member of the Smart Parenting Mom Squad. She is the author of the Amazon best-selling book, Go Momshie

Find out how to be part of the 2024 Smart Parenting Squad here.

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