#1 Reason for Setting Resolutions: Your Brain is Wired to Achieve!

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new years resolutions

#1 Reason for Setting Resolutions: Your Brain is Wired to Achieve!

I am thrilled to share this exceptional guest post from writer Sheila Callaham about why you should be setting resolutions! I am going to get starting setting my resolutions now. Love having proof that it works.

While some may view setting resolutions as a sure way of setting oneself up for disappointment, I am always excited to plan the year to come. For starters I like the process of evaluating where I am, and considering my logical next steps. Then there’s the concept of pushing myself to conquer something new to achieve a coveted outcome. While I know that getting from A to B might take longer than the year I allow myself, that doesn’t stop me from trying. After all, research shows the human brain is wired to achieve.

new years resolutions

Edwin A. Locke and Gary P. Latham are two of the foremost researchers on the concept of goal setting and the success that focused intentions can manifest. Their research dates back to the 1960’s, when Dr. Locke determined that clear goals and appropriate feedback motivated people.
This early research remains pertinent today because the human brain has not changed. Here are some of the key outcomes Locke and Latham’s research revealed:

  • Working toward a goal provides a major source of motivation to achieve the intended outcome.
  • Motivation to attain a goal, in turn, improves performance; thus, enhancing the prospect of achieving the stated goal.
  • A relationship exists between the difficulty of one’s goal and performance. Specific and challenging goals lead to better task performance than vague or easy goals. In other words, the more difficult the goal, the better the performance.
  • Once the mind accepts and understands a goal, that goal remains in the periphery of consciousness as a reference point for guiding and giving meaning to subsequent mental and physical actions.


And this is why it is important to set goals — our brains are programmed to excel when focused on a challenging intention! Regardless of the outcome at the end of the year, the bottom line is that when we set resolutions, our brain responds with added motivation to do more!

To increase the chances of achieving your New Year’s resolutions, follow these three tips.

  1. Make sure the goals you set are for you and not anyone else. If you’re setting a goal to please someone else, you won’t have the emotional connection that is needed to ensure long-term success.
  2. Kick the fear of failure by celebrating progress along the way. Even if you take two steps back to take one step forward, recognition of your effort, dedication, and momentum is key to keeping your motivation high and your brain engaged.
  3. Surround yourself with supporters. If the people with whom you are spending time are naysayers or don’t take your goals as seriously as you do, they are standing in the way of your progress. To the extent possible, build a community supporters, to include mentors, supportive friends, and acquaintances who have already achieved what you are in the progress of attaining. Whenever self-doubt or your naysayers dampen your spirits, these are the people who will help lift you back up again.


Between your brain that is already wired for success and following these three steps, you’re in a great position to set and achieve great accomplishments in the year to come. What are you waiting for? Grab a pencil and paper and set some resolutions!

Sheila CallahamSheila Callaham is the author of seven books. Her most recent publication is “The Power of Living Joyfully: Your Guide to Setting and Achieving Goals that Enrich Your Life.” A certified coach and effective facilitator, Sheila loves motivating others to be their best through her writing and coaching practices. You can connect with Sheila and learn more about her work at www.SheilaCallaham.com.


Wired Brain Image credit:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_uploading_in_fiction

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  1. Lisa on December 17, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Loved reading your post about achieving goals. The more positive reinforcement we receive the more motivated we will become. Just in time for 2015, thanks!

  2. Pamela Thompson on December 17, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    Hi Minette and Sheila,

    I so enjoyed Sheila’s post. Appreciated the historical links and evidence for goal setting. I particularly resonated with “our brains are programmed to excel when focusing on a challenging intentions” and “Clear goals and appropriate feedback motivate people.” Thanks for sharing the evidence and some proven strategies. You’ve inspired me to start writing my intentions for 2015! Pam

  3. Andrea on December 18, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    I also love the way our brains just keep moving us forward, helping to notice doors that are opening — even when we’re not aware that we are making progress. Thanks.

  4. Lux Ganzon on December 28, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    I needed to read this! I needed some motivation to keep pushing especially for the next year. Thanks! 🙂

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