Wellness Pearls

January 1st
01 January 2014

Achieving Goals vs. Magical Thinking

The Anti- New Years Resolution

Does your New Year’s resolution look like this?


Of the 45% of Americans that make resolutions, only 8% achieve their goals. This bleak picture may stem from not applying proven methods in human change science. In order to avoid magical thinking on setting New Year’s goals, the strategy of mental contrasting can help you backward plan from the goals. This involves contrasting your desired future with present reality. Solely indulging in the desired future without elaborating on the when, where and how of getting there leads to magical thinking.

Also, the degree to which we expect ourselves to be successful in goal attainment hinges on this barrier recognition. Mental contrasting taps into the necessary energy needed to commit to the desired future, or helps us modify or even drop goals that are not feasible. This technique can serve as the jet fuel for any hard, long-term goal such as weight loss, writing a novel or getting fit.

A client of mine has lost 60 pounds since September. This occurred because of the recognition of a major barrier to having a lean body. She noticed that she is “addicted” to processed foods, once she starts eating them she can’t stop and hundreds of attempts at ‘cutting down have failed.

Once she got clear that her barrier was a food addiction, she learned the only way forward and out of an addiction is to remove the processed foods that she could not control. Her weight loss has been dramatic. Had she not accurately specified that a food addiction was standing in her way, or had she simply decided to eat less, count calories or begin an inhuman exercise program, she would not have recognized the destructive eating pattern.

To take your goals from fantasy to action, look closely, fiercely and honestly at the gap between what you have and what you want.

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other. —Abraham Lincoln

May you live your intentions in 2014 and Happy New Year.

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