|Open Resolutions for the New Year
When it comes to New Year's Resolutions,
setting lists is much easier than getting stuff done. Resolutions fail for many reasons, with people often demanding too much of themselves and being too rigid about the goals they set. According to new research, 'open' resolutions are much more likely to succeed. If we make open-ended rather than specific goals, we are much more likely to achieve positive results. Whether you want to get fitter or be more productive at work, open goals offer a range of psychological and performance benefits.
Goal-setting theory from the 1990s and even
earlier continues to change and evolve. The old-fashioned all-or-nothing
approach to setting goals may be doing more harm than good, with people often
giving up when they fail to reach a milestone instead of pushing on. Instead of
setting highly specific and limiting goals, open goals are about focusing on
the important movement forward rather than a distant and often arbitrary
destination. Open goals are non-specific and exploratory, such as "let's
see how well I can do", or "maybe I can jump even higher".
Open goals are already being used by
professional athletes and the fitness industry, with Apple recently including
open goals as a workout option on their fitness-oriented Watch products.
According to some athletes, open goals are connected with the important concept
of "flow", which is an enjoyable and productive state where
everything falls into place. Because open goals are about the journey and not
the destination, they eliminate the fear of failure and remove the paralysis
and procrastination that often accompany the world of fitness.
There is another key difference between
traditional destination-centred goals and open journey-driven goals, with the
former focused on the future and the later focused very much on the
"now". New Year's Resolutions and other goal-setting behaviours often
fail because they set an unrealistic gap between where you are now and where
you want to be in the future. Instead of daydreaming about what may be, open
goals help you to start working immediately to make your dreams come true. This
is especially important for everyday people who are trying to set a fitness
Open goals are about transforming fear into
opportunity, and turning words into actions. Instead of comparing yourself to
an, often unattainable, end-point, you're constantly building on a very real
starting point. If you want to improve yourself in any way in 2021, setting
enthusiastic but open goals may be the key. Once you start seeing progress and
experiencing the benefits of your hard work, it's easy enough to move the
goalposts and keep forging ahead. At the end of the day, adopting a flexible
and agile approach to your future will take you much further than an endless
cycle of expectation and regret.