How to Set a Mindful New Year’s Resolution

The year is coming to a close, and most of us are contemplating our hopes and expectations for the “fresh start” that follows the shiny ball drop on January 1st. Priorities come into focus and perhaps regrets from year’s past seep in as you set ambitious goals for the new year. 

But before you start getting any ideas, take a beat, be honest with yourself and practice mindfulness as you set the tone for the next 12 months…or at least the next 12 days. Research shows that most people bail on their New Year’s resolutions by January 12th. Also known as “Quitter’s Day.” (Yes, that’s a thing.)

Fear not, friends, for the Arbor team is here to provide you with all of the tools to ensure that you’re not one of those quitters as you set your mindful New Year’s resolutions. If hindsight is 20/20, then this should be the year when we don’t let history repeat itself! 

First things first, carefully select a very specific and attainable goal. The more specific you are, the better. Setting goals isn’t the hard part here. It’s the selection process and elimination of other secondary goals that most people skip. 

In the words of Seth Godin, “You don’t need more time, you just need to decide.” A mindful New Year’s resolution doesn’t need to be a major commitment, it just needs to be a focused one. 

This is when an approach called ‘Habit Stacking’ comes in handy. BJ Fogg, Behavior Scientist at Stanford University invented this term for when you tag new habits onto existing ones that you already incorporate into your daily routine. Specificity is key here. For example, if your goal is to simply exercise more often, try to narrow this down, set a specific time for when you’ll exercise, and tag it onto something you already do every day. 

Fogg’s formula looks like this:

After/Before [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].

So your resolution would look something like….After breakfast every morning, I will practice yoga for 1 hour. 

This new habit is more likely to stick if you add them to a cycle of behaviors that already exist in your brain. This works so well because you are feeding into the patterns and behaviors that you’ve been strengthening over years with other habits. By linking your new habits (aka your mindful New Year’s resolutions) to a cycle that is already built into your brain, it’s easier for you to stick to.

However, habit stacking is only one of the many ways you can do yourself a solid and have 20/20 vision while goal setting in 2020. 

So tell us, what are your mindful New Year’s resolutions for a better ‘you’ this year? 

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