New year, new you – so we’ve been told, so many times before. New year’s is prime time to start reflecting on our habits and cleaning up our goals and intentions for the new year. However, it’s easy to get carried away with grand ideas for the new year that can end up being unattainable as life inevitably gets in the way. Because let’s be real – we’re still in a global pandemic with ever-changing shifts. It’s still pretty impossible to make any long-term plans for the future, and many of us are feeling drained and tired after the toll 2020 and 2021 has taken on us.
If you’re on the lookout for ways to make 2022 a great year for yourself, read on to find out some great information about the best way to set goals. For this blog post, we’ve chatted with Dr. Hengchen Dai about motivation, creating fresh starts, and goal setting so that we can focus on how to make 2022 a good year but in attainable ways.
Dr. Dai is a scientist, teacher, and diplomat. She’s a scholar of judgment and decision-making whose research is used within companies to increase employee and customer engagement. She is also an Assistant Professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and was ranked one of the best 40 under 40 business school professors Poets & Quants in 2020.
I think it is important to carefully set a goal that stretches you a bit but is still realistic. At the start of a new year, people may be so excited about pursuing new goals and become overoptimistic about what they could do in the new year. If they set too high a goal due to their overoptimism, they may fail too soon and are not motivated to try again. So I would recommend that while taking advantage of your enthusiasm and motivation at the beginning of a new year, be realistic at the same time!
Actually what I said previously about overoptimism and setting unrealistic goals is one common reason people fail to pursue their goals. People may set the goal of exercising 7 days a week, but if they do not get time to exercise on Monday, they may feel “what the hell” and give up that week since they are not able to maintain the perfect attendance anyway. One tactic for addressing this issue is to set up goals with emergency reserves, based on research done by Professors Marissa Sharif and Suzanne Shu. For example, instead of saying that I will exercise 7 days a week, it is better to say “I will exercise 7 days a week but if I really have something unexpected come up, I can skip at most 2 days”. With 7 days as the high goal and 2 days as an “emergency reserve”, people will not only be motivated by a high goal but also won’t easily give up if they have to miss exercising one day.
StickK.com! It was founded by Yale Behavioral Economist Dean Karlan, Yale Law School professor Ian Ayres, and Yale MBA Jordan Goldberg. StickK allows people to create commitment contracts for their personal and professional goals. That is, people can put money (or their reputation!) on the line and have their friends and family to be the referee and / or supporter. If people fail to reach their goals, they will forfeit the money, and the money can go to their favorite charity, their friends, or an organization they hate!
0-3 min: think of one career enhancement you want to make in 2021 (i.e., meet 1 new person / month, find a new job, etc.)
3-7 min: Now, break it down to something you can commit to each day or week. Fill in the following statement: I commit to [action] at [when / where].
7-11 min: Write down your goal in a place you’ll remember it / see it regularly (we help with goal tracking at Lloyd, feel free to reach out to me or see below).
11-15 min: Anticipate 1-2 challenges you might have to reaching this goal and how to minimize those challenges.