With 2019 coming to a close, it’s common time to set new year’s resolutions or intentions for the year to come. To be successful in setting resolutions, think of it in terms of setting goal plans. Think big picture and imagine where you want to be 365 days from now.

Your resolutions don’t have to be anything life changing, like a new job or even a promotion. It can be learning a new skill or further developing yourself as an effective communicator and leader. The important thing is that you identify something specific you can achieve by this time next year.You’ve got a whole year or more to fill up this beautiful, blank map. Where’s your destination?

Why is it so important to set resolutions?

It can give you clarity.

Creating resolutions helps you gain clarity on what you want to do in the future. Every part of setting resolutions helps you get clearer on the bigger picture. The process helps you identify both what you want to do, as well as what you don’t. It can help you realize it’s time to move on to something new, or it can make you realize that you’re really happy doing what you’re doing and you’re content to stay in that position for another year.

This blog will share one researched technique for ensuring your resolution sticks.

Visualizing the potential we’re holding inside of us is galvanizing. That’s why so many of us make New Year’s resolutions! There’s a simple trick neuroscience research shows us how we can significantly increase our likelihood of achieving them: clearly envisioning and describing the success of our goals. Here is the question participants were asked to answer:

“My goal is so clearly described in written form (including pictures, photos, drawings, etc.) that I could literally show it to other people and they would know exactly what I’m trying to achieve.”

Invest in where you want to go. By imagining and describing your goals, you create the neural connections to make this dream a reality. You encode your path to success in the hippocampus of your brain, the part that stores long-term memories and will remind you months down the road, “Yeah, this is where I want to go.”

Are you ready to envision where you want to go this year?
1. Clearly Envision The Success of Your Goals
First, read the question: Where do you plan to go in this new year? Then, close your eyes and envision the success of your goals based on the answers. Paint a picture, imagine your success as if it were a scene out of a movie. The images and pictures are important in making the needed neural connections.

Questions to consider for your visioning process:
How would you know you were successful in achieving your goals?
How would your life look & feel differently?
How do you define success?
What do your surroundings look like?
Are you alone or with others?
What details can you identify (ie, your clothing, the sounds, others’ faces, smell, etc)

Now, take 3-10 minutes to get comfortable, close your eyes, and envision the success of your goals.

2. Describe on Paper What You Saw
Describing what you just envisioned improves your ability to recall the details in the future. By doing this, you’re locking in that hard work of envisioning the wins. According to the research, it’s important that this be written on paper.

Write down as many details as you can about your envisioning process. It doesn’t have to be in details, bullet points are fine. But it just needs to be recalled from your brain with as much visual detail as possible.

Now that you’ve done your envisioning exercise, there are many ways to leverage your work. Here are a few ideas you might want to consider:

1) Post your description somewhere you’ll see it regularly, like on your fridge or near your laptop. Regular reminders help immensely with goal achievement.
2) Make a “vision board” of your envisioning by cutting up old magazines and gluing them on paper to further enforce your neural encoding.
3) Share your description or vision board with one of your cheerleaders or accountability partners. Sharing your goals with a supportive loved one increases your chances of success, as does articulating your goals clearly.

Remember, you deserve exactly what you envisioned.

How will you envision yourself achieving your goals in the new year? Feel free to share with us your envisioning experience.