Skip to content

Consider this as you set goals for the new year

Daniel Marzullo
Daniel Marzullo
2 min read
Consider this as you set goals for the new year
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters / Unsplash

As we step into the first few days of the new year, the idea of setting new goals is likely swirling around in your thoughts.

Maybe you're armed with a list of resolutions or simply thinking through a few new habits to weave into your life.

Regardless of your mindset, here's an idea to consider to help you smash your goals this year. Whatever they may look like for you.

Many of us unknowingly start off on the wrong foot by framing our goals in a negative context. How? By setting avoidance goals.

Avoidance goals are about steering clear of negatives. This approach shifts our mindset towards what we wish to avoid rather than achieve.

Example avoidance goals...

"I won't procrastinate at work."

"I won't skip my workouts."

"I won't be so negative all the time."

"I won't be late for everything."

"I won't pointlessly scroll on social media."

These are all avoidance goals. So what's the alternative? Set approach goals.

Approach goals focus on positive outcomes. This forward-thinking mindset is more productive. It cultivates positivity and steers our efforts toward achievements.

Using the example avoidance goals above, here's how we reframe them into approach goals...

"I won't procrastinate at work." -> "I will commit to scheduling my work by time blocking my calendar."

"I won't skip my workouts." -> "I will schedule time to be active daily."

"I won't be so negative all the time." -> "I will find something to be grateful for every day."

"I won't be late for everything." -> "I will adopt new time management habits."

"I won't pointlessly scroll on social media." -> "I will throw my phone in a drawer when I need to concentrate on a task."

If, after reading this, you've realized you set a few avoidance goals for yourself, here's a simple process to flip them into approach goals.

Identify your goals

Start by writing down everything you want to achieve. These goals can span various aspects of your life, from career and education to hobbies and health.

Categorize those goals

Next, classify your goals into avoidance or approach goals. The wording matters: "I won't" or "I will stop" likely indicates an avoidance goal, while "I will" signifies an approach goal.

Reframe any avoidance goals

Transform any avoidance goals into approach goals by reframing them with a positive outcome as the desired end result. This is more than a language trick. It's about shifting your mindset to a more positive and proactive one.

By focusing on approach goals, you set yourself up for a more positive and achievable path to success. This exercise isn't just about listing desires; it's about creating a mindset that propels you toward a successful future.

Happy New Year!

Dan Marzullo

P.S. What content do you want to see more of from me this year? What would you find most helpful? Reply to this email and let me know!


📚 Cool Resources

Check out Work3 for weekly news, practical guides, and features to prepare for the future of work.

Dan's Dispatch

Tools to discover your strengths and do work you love.

    I'll never share your information because I'm not a jerk.

    Newsletter

    Daniel Marzullo

    Hi, I’m Dan! 👋 I typically spend my days buried in a booth at a local coffee shop. Ideas flow best with a cup of coffee in one hand and a bagel in the other.


    Related Posts

    Members Public

    How to ask clients for feedback

    When was the last time you asked your clients for genuine feedback on working together, beyond just revisions on projects and deliverables? Over the years, I've found it incredibly beneficial to do quarterly check-ins with every client to get a sense of how things are going. Not only

    How to ask clients for feedback
    Members Public

    The WOOP Method

    If you're sick and tired of setting SMART goals, I've got a new framework for you. In my previous life as a personal trainer, we tossed the SMART acronym around like candy on Halloween. For those unfamiliar, SMART goals are: Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-Bound It

    The WOOP Method
    Members Public

    How to energy audit your work

    When was the last time you did an Energy Audit of your work? If you ever feel like some parts of your work turbo-charge your day while others leave you running on empty, it might be time for an Energy Audit. This exercise can be a game-changer if you feel

    How to energy audit your work