For successful resolutions: try dreaming

Original Articles

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? Maybe some related to your health like: “I will start walking more” or “I will drink less alcohol” or ”I will eat fish three times a week”. These are all reasonable goals, but are you likely to succeed?

The January 1, 2013 Harvard Business Review (blog) contained a post arguing that to be successful in your resolutions, you need to dream first. The author, Whitney Johnson, says that people often fail in their resolutions because they really don’t know themselves well enough. She writes that to know yourself well enough, you need to let your mind wander… dream about what your ideal self would be, would look like, would be doing.

Typical resolutions are aimed at fixing something that (you think) is wrong: you are too fat, or eat the wrong things, or spend too much time on Facebook. Johnson claims your time is better spent first figuring out who the ideal you would be. Once you honestly define your personal hopes and aspirations, it will be easier to actually follow through with difficult long-term challenges like losing 10 kg. in the next year, or jogging three times a week.

She sums up some of her ideas in this way:

…the more you know who you are, the less likely you are to procrastinate. And the more we dream ourselves into becoming who we want to be, the closer we’ll come to accomplishing our resolutions.

After a few weeks, possibly even a month of inner reflection, the resolutions required to make your dream a reality will become evident.

So take some time, maybe a few weeks, and at various moments alone by yourself, let your mind wander and imagine yourself as thin or athletic or whatever you want for yourself, your dream self. How would your life be different?  Would you be happier?

Maybe this sounds like too much fairy tale, but anything in the Harvard Business Review deserves attention, so, especially if you haven’t met your resolutions in past years, it might be well worthwhile to look into your special, internal mirror, and find what Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling says is “nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts.”

When you find that, it will be easier to complete the possibly hard tasks—for example, dieting—you might need to undertake to become your ideal, happiest, self.

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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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