How to Make Long-Lasting Life Changes

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Each year, many folks make New Year’s Day resolutions for change, and every year, most of these resolutions go unresolved. While you’ll feel inspired to pursue a fresh, new goal on New Year’s Day, that resolution may lose its luster over the next months. Most national holiday resolutions are discarded and forgotten by spring. So why are long-lasting goals so hard to maintain? Even behavior change experts acknowledge that pursuing and achieving goals is extremely difficult.1

A Goal-Setting Strategy for Lasting Change

Researchers who study subordinate and superordinate goal setting have theorized that the simplest way to achieve longer-lasting success is to mix both goal types.2 Superordinate goals provide a general sense of direction and facilitate your to sort through priorities when different goals or tasks compete for your attention. But subordinate goals provide stepping stones—specific measurable actions—that keep you engaged and motivated.


Research has shown that individuals pursue goals more consistently, with greater motivation, and for an extended period of their time once they specialize in both subordinate and superordinate goals than after they target either a subordinate or a superordinate goal alone.

So how does one put your own lifestyle change plan into place? First, you’ll have to define your goals. Then you will need to refine your goals. Finally, you will need to regulate your goals.

1. Define

  • To define a superordinate goal, they were asked to list three reasons why they wanted to pursue their new year resolution.
  • To define a subordinate goal, they were asked to list three concrete actions or steps describing how they’d pursue their New Year’s resolution.
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2. Refine

Once you’ve got your first draft of your superordinate and subordinate goals written out, you’ll refine them to form them more practical. Start by addressing the superordinate goals. Remember that superordinate goals reflect your intrinsic values. they’re connected to your identity and reflect the person who you’d prefer to become but they must still be realistic.

Next, refine your subordinate goals. To do so, it’s going to be helpful to use the SMART goal approach. SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

3. Adjust

As you place your resolution plan into motion, you may find that you just must make adjustments. Subordinate goals provide relatively quick feedback. you’ll use this feedback to continue on your designated path or to search out a replacement thanks to reach your superordinate goal.

For example, if you’ve started your attempt to learn to play piano, you would  have found a tutor and enrolled in classes. But your attendance has dwindled and you discover that you simply don’t have any desire to practice reception. you will want to return up with a brand new strategy to be told piano. Perhaps home lessons work better than classroom instruction. or even you’ll be able to revisit your overarching goal to find out to play music and choose a special instrument.

Remember, by changing the sport plan (the subordinate goals), you’re not abandoning on your main (superordinate) goal—you are simply approaching it from a replacement angle. this could be seen as an indicator of persistence and success, not as an indication of failure or leaving behind.

life changes

One Change at a Time

There will be many alternative ways to achieve a superordinate goal. concentrate on only 1 small habit change at a time until you bounce back at the method. Once you become more confident in your ability to line and reach smaller (subordinate) goals, try and keep your focus limited.

Challenge Yourself in Small Doses

Researchers have found that challenging goals tend to be more engaging and motivating than “easy” goals, but when you’re first starting out, administer challenge in smaller doses. you’ll do so by setting shorter time-frames, or by setting goals that you just know you’ll be able to achieve. As your confidence grows and success rate increases, so should the degree of difficulty.

Become a Do-er

Studies suggest that approach-based goals (where you create a commitment to try and do something) are simpler than avoidance goals (where you create a commitment to avoid doing something). try and set a goal for an action that you simply want to require instead of one you would like to avoid. If you’re trying to quit a habit, consider building a goal around a replacement activity.4

Get Support

It’s not likely that you simply are going to be the sole one in your family or social circle who are going to be making a resolution in January. Find someone who features a goal the same as yours and make a commitment to attach regularly and supply one another support. whether or not your friend or partner’s resolution is different from yours, you’ll be able to still support one another and speak about the method, challenges, and successes.

life changes

Plan Rewards

Plan rewards for yourself at regular intervals along the way. Rewards may facilitate your to remain on target and maintain motivation. try and find rewards that are in line together with your achievements which facilitate your to keep up interest when challenges arise.

– by-Shinjini Chatterjee
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