ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Goal-Setting or Resolution?

Updated on May 9, 2020
Russ Baleson profile image

Russ writes on relationships, people management, music, and poetry. He is originally from South Africa and now lives in the UK.

Resolutions or Goals?

Why waste time on yet another New Year's Resolution? You know that you won't be sticking to it!

I prefer to set structured goals rather than resolutions. There is much to be said about the psychology and the structure of effective goal-setting, but this hub focuses on a technique to help you through the motivation dip that occurs quite soon after setting goals (or resolutions).

The Motivation Dip

One of the reasons people don’t succeed in achieving their goals is because of the effects of the Motivation Dip. When choosing a New Year’s Resolution, one’s motivation is quite high but somehow, over time, it doesn’t last.

Think about what happens when a person takes up a new sport or hobby or begins a new project. At first they are so motivated that they can’t talk about anything else except for their new enthusiasm. For example, when someone joins a gym. The motivation gained from actually going to the gym, getting some exercise, feeling a slight physical difference very quickly, is motivating. This is called the ‘Novelty Phase’. Then after a while, after some time has elapsed, the novelty wears off and it’s replaced by the need for hard work, which could mean getting out of bed earlier or resisting any of the temptations that take us away from the goal. It’s at this stage that most people experience a real dip in their motivation level and become discouraged. The dieter starts to overeat again, the person who chose to study gets the urge to spend the evening watching television instead, and the athlete can’t summon up the energy to go out and exercise. Sound familiar?

If you can just get through this difficult dip until you begin to achieve tangible results, then the results themselves will act as a the motivator to sustain your actions.

You should be formulating your goals in such a way so that even when you’re at the bottom of the Motivation Dip, the benefits of the goal are so clear that it entices you to keep going. Then as soon as you experience significant results your motivation rises again.

Also your goals must be written to help to crystallise thoughts, and those thoughts will help motivate the action required. Overall, goals need to be specific; positive (not the reverse of an idea); observable action (what can I see myself doing when I’ve achieved the goal?); realistic and attainable; and a challenge.

Techniques to Support Your Resolutions

But back to what this Hub is all about, a technique to help support sustaining your motivation and achieving your resolutions. This technique is called Anchoring. Firstly, let’s examine a simple way to set up a ‘calm’ anchor to help you in times of stress, anxiety, worry, etc., and then how to use the same technique to support your goals.

Setting Up a Calm Anchor

You can ‘anchor’ feelings to a specific part of your body. Once this anchor is established you can recall and sometimes relive the feelings by pressing that spot on your body which serves as a TRIGGER for these feelings. This technique merely uses the mind’s natural talent for linking things together and making associations.

The process of making associations usually happens without our conscious awareness. It is an everyday occurrence. For example, if you were to hear a song that you used to listen to many years ago, it could automatically trigger off a flood of memories about what you were experiencing at that time.

The following exercise which should only take about five to ten minutes, shows you how you can use associations to set up your very own calm anchor.

The Process

  1. Allow yourself to RELAX, feel comfortable and close your eyes. Use whatever process works for you whether it be breathing exercises, individual muscle tension and release, etc.
  2. Think of a time and place in your life when you felt really calm, confident and relaxed. IMAGINE yourself in that place. Immerse yourself in that experience, making it as real as possible by exploring that place with all your senses. - SEE all the surroundings and colours and light and shades and textures. HEAR all the different sounds and the way that they seem to blend with one another. Notice all the SMELLS of the place. TOUCH all the surroundings and experience what they feel like. Use your sense of TASTE if appropriate. Allow your breathing to become slow and deep.
  3. When you feel the relaxation of that experience in your body and mind, ANCHOR it to a certain part of your body; for instance let your thumbnail dig into the pad of your first finger.
  4. HOLD the anchor long enough to allow the association between the touch and the relaxed feelings to occur, about TWENTY SECONDS, then release the anchor.
  5. Then TEST THE ANCHOR and continuously strengthen the association with ongoing repetition.

Once the anchor is established, anytime you feel stressed or anxious, touch the spot in the same way with the same pressure and notice how you can recall or relive the pleasant relaxing and calming feelings. It is best to use the technique as soon as you feel the slightest twinge of anxiety and stop it before it has the chance of making you feel uncomfortable.

An Anchor to Support Your Goal

You can also use an anchor to support your goals to ensure you make it through the Motivation Dip. The following exercise should take about thirty minutes.

Close your eyes and take some time to allow yourself to RELAX.

Imagine that you have ACHIEVED A SPECIFIC GOAL to your total satisfaction .Immerse yourself in all the BENEFITS AND JOYS of such an achievement making it as real as possible exploring the experience with all your senses and then ask yourself:

  • What do I see? - See and experience all the positive motivating results.
  • How do I feel? - Feel all the associated wonderful, powerful, feelings.
  • What do I feel? - Feel all the physical sensations. Touch your success.
  • What do I hear? - Hear all the positive sounds and voices.
  • What do I smell? - Experience it.
  • How is my body physically different? - Feel it.
  • What do I taste? - Experience it.
  • What am I wearing? - See it, feel it, be comfortable and motivated in it.
  • What am I saying to myself? - Say it, hear it, feel good!
  • What am I saying to others? - Say it, hear it, see others react positively.
  • What are others saying to me? - Hear it, see how supportive and happy they are.
  • What are others saying about me? - Hear it, see how supportive and happy they all are.
  • What impact will I have on others? - See it, hear it, feel it, experience it.
  • What else is positively different? - Experience it.

When you feel the magic of the goal-achieving experience in your body and mind, ANCHOR it to a certain part of your body; for instance gently press your thumb nail into the side of your first finger.

HOLD the anchor long enough to allow the association between the touch and the feelings of achievement, about TWENTY SECONDS, then release the anchor.

Then TEST THE ANCHOR and continuously strengthen the association with ongoing repetition.

Now you have a trigger

So, quite simply, every time you feel a bit lazy or begin to rationalise as to why you'll take action at some later date, or why, just this once, you'll ...... (do what you don't really want to do), press your trigger and let all the benefits of sticking to your goal come flooding back through all the senses.

Wishing you all Happy Goal-Setting!


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Russ Baleson profile imageAUTHOR

      Russ Baleson 

      8 years ago from Sandhurst, United Kingdom

      Hi Acaetnna, thank you so much, I hope you try it, it really works. Happy New Year to you too. Russ

    • acaetnna profile image


      8 years ago from Guildford

      Happy New Year. I am unsure how I missed this awesome hub. Great information and advice. Than you.

    • Russ Baleson profile imageAUTHOR

      Russ Baleson 

      8 years ago from Sandhurst, United Kingdom

      Hi Lyric Writer, thank you for your comments, I have no doubt that used wisely, this will get you through the motivation dip to what you want to achieve. Like writing a Country hit perhaps? Russ

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      8 years ago from West Virginia

      Voted up, awesome, useful, and interesting. Russ, great article friend. I agree 100%. I find myself in that motivational dip all the time. The first month or so, I do great. Afterwards, that feeling of change leaves me and I grow into old habits. The anchor application is very clever. These are some great wise tips and info. A very well informed article. Best wishes and have a great day.

    • Russ Baleson profile imageAUTHOR

      Russ Baleson 

      8 years ago from Sandhurst, United Kingdom

      Hi Journey, thank you, and a happy new year to you too.

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 

      8 years ago from USA

      Thanks for all the good ideas in this hub. The anchor technique seems like a very valid one to try. Happy New Year!

    • Russ Baleson profile imageAUTHOR

      Russ Baleson 

      8 years ago from Sandhurst, United Kingdom

      Hi Frierva, yes I agree, prioritisation is vital in setting goals and living your life's dream. Thank you.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I loved your advice on physical anchors connected to specific consciousness, great ideas that I am sure are effective. I have also found that a strict prioritization of your important goals in life can motivate you to stick with those important things due to the long term rewards. As opposed to seeking instant gratification with laziness or other avoidances.

    • Russ Baleson profile imageAUTHOR

      Russ Baleson 

      8 years ago from Sandhurst, United Kingdom

      Thank you Krystal. Just knowing that the motivation dip is a reality helps to prepare a strategy to overcome those times. Even just acknowledging what is happening consciously is enough to help you stay on track. Thank you for your supportive comments.

    • KrystalD profile image


      8 years ago from Los Angeles

      The motivation dip is a reality we all face. I like your tips because they can be used throughout the year. Thanks for your thoroughness.

    • Russ Baleson profile imageAUTHOR

      Russ Baleson 

      8 years ago from Sandhurst, United Kingdom

      Hi Ana, thanks for your comments. Yes, that's exactly how it works. Happy new year to you.

    • Ana Teixeira profile image

      Ana Teixeira 

      8 years ago from Oporto, Porto, Portugal

      Very god hub. I have no idea if this is how I did it.. if so.. it was my unconscious mind.. but A few years ago I made an objective and everytime i touched my wrist i remembered it because my wrist was connected to the memory that led me to make that objective for myself. So I bet this technique works. Because it is based on the same principle. Association. Great hub. =) Voted up


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)