Forget Resolutions, It is Time to Set Aspirations and Intentions instead

Tis’ the season for goal setting. I am all for setting new goals and intentions when the New Year rolls around and I know I am not alone. If you are anything like me, you have spent the past few days reflecting on what you want this year to bring and how you want to live the next 12 months.

Despite all the motivation we have right now, our resolutions often fall flat. The motivation tends to fade and we slowly forget all about our goals. This happens because we are in a constant struggle between our short term desires and our long term goals.

For instance, let’s say you have a goal of running a 5km race in a few months and you have a training plan to get you ready for race day. When your alarm clock goes off at 6am to get out for your morning run and you look outside and it's still dark out, it looks dreary and a little chilly. In the moment it is easier to forgo the morning run and stay wrapped up in your cozy bed. You can easily justify it because your race isn’t for 2 more months and you can make up for that run some other time. That’s fine if it happens occasionally, however it becomes a pattern, you aren’t likely to achieve your long term goals.

And this truly applies to most goals, in the moment it’s more enjoyable to eat the cake then skip on dessert, or it easier to stay up for a few more Netflix episodes rather than go to bed on time. Our long term goals require us to make difficult choices in the moment, so that we can change and grow. In order to achieve this, we need to focus on the long term benefits of making those difficult decisions. We need to be able to make the connection between the choices we make and how they are bringing us closer to the best version of ourselves, or not.

The key to this might be in goal setting tools that we use. Instead of setting New Year’s resolutions and goals, I prefer to set intentions and aspirations about how I want to transform over the year. This way it is focused on the long term things I want to achieve rather than the specific habits I want to change.

Traditionally when we set goals, we use techniques like SMART goals, however they aren’t centred around our long term aspirations. It is more impactful to focus on how our short term actions will lead to the long term results we are looking for. That’s where WOOP goals come. Using the WOOP technique, which stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle and Plan, it focuses on the entire journey to your better self.

Here are the steps involved in the WOOP technique and the questions you want to reflect on each step on the way.

Wish. This step helps you get clarity on exactly what you want to achieve.

  • What do you want to achieve?

Outcome. This step helps you get clarity on why you want to achieve these goals to help you stay focused.

  • How will your life be different when you achieve your goals?

  • How will you feel when you achieve your goals?

  • Why do you want to achieve these goals?

Obstacle. This step helps you identify possible obstacles along your journey and help you plan on how to deal with them.

  • What can possibly prevent you from achieving your goals?

  • How will you deal with these obstacles if they come up?

Plan. This step helps you get a clear path on how to achieve you

  • How do you plan to achieve your goals while overcoming your obstacles?

  • What actions do you need to take on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to achieve your goals?

Use this technique for a new spin on New Year’s Resolutions, so that you actually stick to the changes you want to make and you grow into the person you are looking to become.

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