Achieving Positive Lifestyle Change Without Specific Goals

Did you set any new year resolutions this year? If so, how are you going with them?

If you’re still going well, congratulations! Very impressive!

If they’ve fallen by the wayside, don’t fret. Here’s an approach that’s proven to help with lasting lifestyle change. It’s less performance-based than the common SMART goals approach and more sustainable than new year resolutions that often don’t fit into your routine.

Intentions… a way to achieve positive lifestyle change without specific goals

For many of us, this year’s New Year Resolutions are long gone. However, there’s good news if you’d like to achieve some positive change in your life and resolutions don’t work for you.

Research suggests that defining an intention – a broader, directional goal – can be just as, if not more, beneficial than setting defined and specific resolutions.

For example, instead of setting yourself a weight-loss benchmark goal, you could decide that you’re going to make the majority of your weekday meals healthy ones.

Another example might be to set an intention about where you want to be career-wise in two years time and identify what you’ll need to do this year for that to happen – practice public speaking, build your network, and so on.

Intentions satisfy all the driving psychological factors that cause us to make resolutions, but don’t demand the external benchmarks that the traditional “SMART” goals approach requires. (And which often don’t work for lifestyle goals for a host of reasons.)

Studies show that having a sense of purpose and direction, guided by living intentionally and prioritising your time-use, can boost you health and happiness and lead to a longer life.

Action Steps

Here are 4 questions you can ask yourself if you’d like to enjoy the benefits of having an intention…

  1.    What’s most important to me?

Is your family the most important thing in your life? Your beliefs? Your work? Where does each rank? And if your life demonstrating that?

  1.   Who do I want to be?

Would you like to be more sociable? Perhaps you’ve always wanted to learn to do something, or maybe you’d simply like to be kinder or more patient.

  1.   Where do I want to be?

Do you love what you do for work or are you yearning for a change? Are you living in your ideal location?

  1.   What do I want to do?

Spend more time with family? Build your health? Read more novels or maybe travel? What could be a priority for the year?

Once you dig deep and find your answers, it’ll become easier to prioritise the things that matter most to you. This will help you to define your intentions for this year… and every year.

What could you set as your intention for the next few months?


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