Some people enjoy setting goals for a new year ahead. Many people don’t, feeling as though this is pointless because keeping momentum with a goal for a whole year is challenging.
What helps people stick to goals? According to self-determination theory, people function on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Goals rooted in intrinsic motivation tend to lead to better results. For example, someone who loves to knit might find it rewarding to set a goal of knitting something they haven’t done before, because they enjoy the process of knitting itself. Someone who likes running might find it rewarding to set a goal of running a race because they enjoy running itself. Goals that are intrinsically motivated are internally reinforcing: the experience itself is rewarding.
In contrast, extrinsic motivation can fuel goals. However, the rewarding feeling may be more short-lived. For example, someone who studies for an exam to get a good grade wants the good grade itself, an external reinforcement. The individual will not continue to study the same material once the test is taken unless intrinsic motivation drives a desire to know more about the subject at hand.
When setting your goals for the new year, ask yourself where your intrinsic motivation lies. What do you enjoy? What experiences are rewarding? By choosing an area of functioning in which you find enjoyment and intrinsic reinforcement, you will find greater success in goal completion.
What is your intrinsically-driven goal for the new year?
Do you like this article? Check out a recent article from Selena Morefield: Resolutions that last.
Eileen earned her Masters of Art degree in Counseling and Psychotherapy from Adler Graduate School in Richfield, MN after obtaining her undergraduate degree in Psychology and French from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. Eileen’s professional experience has included assessment and therapeutic intervention work with pediatric and well as adult clients. As a licensed professional clinical counselor, Eileen uses a frame work of family systems and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Eileen believes in optimally supporting parents and clients, providing parenting education and support, and empowering clients to establish individualized goals. By guiding clients to build self-awareness, Eileen works with individuals and families to strengthen, support and encourage as they build insight and learn to improve their day-to-day functioning and overall quality of life.
Eileen has more than 8 years of experience working with children, adolescents, adults and families experiencing stressors such as:
- Marital dissatisfaction
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome(FAS)
- Parenting concerns
- Weight management
- Eating disorders
- Abuse and trauma
- Grief and Loss
Having worked in both in-home and office settings, Eileen works with individuals and families to strengthen, support and encourage as they build insight and learn to improve their day-to-day functioning and overall quality of life.