New Year Resolutions, New Year Goals, or New Year Decisions: Which is Better?

It’s January 2024, a new year. It's that time of the year when many of us make resolutions and goals with great hope and excitement, telling ourselves this year will be different and better than before. The gyms are a great example of this. Many of us, including myself, create goals that involve losing eating healthier meals and exercising more.

During the first two weeks of January, gym memberships tend to increase drastically. More people are working out before and after work. Then, after a few weeks, the gyms become less crowded and return back to “normal.” To be fair, the intention to exercise is still there; yet, our motivation to exercise more than the previous year seems to be short-lived. What are the reasons for this happening year after year? How can we break this New Year’s cycle? What if I told you our choice of words that can solve this problem for many of us?

Consider the following phrases and read each one out loud:

“My New Year’s resolution is to exercise more.”

“My New Year’s goal is to exercise more.”

“My New Year’s decision is to exercise more.”

Do you hear the difference in those phrases? Do you notice your body and mind responding slightly differently as you read each phrase out loud?

Let me break down each phrase for you. Soon, you'll begin to realize that you have a communication tool that you can immediately apply and use to take your health to the next level and actually sustain it!

The Merriam-Webster dictionary, defines a resolution as the act of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones. I already feel discomfort reading this definition. Is exercising supposed to be a complex notion? I hope not! No wonder so many of us have trouble sustaining a resolution; using this word feels like hard work. Let’s move on to the next word.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines goal as the end toward which effort is directed. Sounds pretty good, right? This word is much more positive and empowering than the word resolution. But if you pay attention closely, it’s not quite an action definition. The word goal gives us something to work towards; however, we are not quite there.

Finally, we have arrived at the word decision. Merriam-Webster defines decision as a determination arrived at after consideration. Notice that this word is truly an ACTION word! The word decision gets you to actually move forward and do something in alignment with your goal. You are now making a commitment and following through when you say, “I made the decision to exercise.” Your mind hears what you are saying and, more often than not, will take you more seriously when finding ways to follow through with those words.  

Consider this phrase as well: “I made the decision to be more serious about my health.” Isn’t this so powerful? The word decision is one of my favorite words, and I use this on a daily basis with myself, my family, my team and patients. The best part, it works! Experience it for yourself when you visit our dental office.

Let me know how using the word decision works for you. Here’s to being your partner in SUCCESS, and let’s continue to be DECISION MAKERS!

Jeannie Ju, DDS

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