Are You Wrestling with New Year Goals?

Updated: Mar 16

Welcome to a brand new decade, everyone! If you’re anything like me, the subject of resolutions or goals has crossed your mind at some point over the past month. It’s inevitable that we begin to think about newness at the start of a new year: New Beginnings, New Hopes, New Dreams, New Start.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my successes and failures when it comes to implementing new habits and achieving goals. My tri-modal brain (A*SC) creates a certain thinking loop for me. I’ll explain in a minute, but first, consider how the different thinking attributes each approach goals:

For example, the Conceptual part of your brain lights up with talk about anything new, innovative or unique! Your Conceptual brain perks up with talk of the newest trends in weight loss (Kale is so 2019. Can you say Cleansing Juice Fast?), fitness, gadgets and electronics to make our lives easier – whatever interests you, if there is a new spin on it, your Conceptual brain wants to dream about it. Your Conceptual brain might begin to dream about maybe this is THE year we move to our own island…or I finally start those memoirs, finally go vegan, or find the time to tackle my office and get it organized. It’s all about our futures and what “could be” to our Conceptual brains…

The Analytical part of your brain looks at goals differently. Rather than “what if?” as the Conceptual part of our brain ponders, our Analytical brain asks “why would we?” Does a 1-month all-juice cleansing fast make sense for me? And if so, what is the value to me of undergoing such rigours? What does the research say about juice cleanses? The Analytical part of your brain wants you to set goals that will serve you in the coming year: will becoming a better speaker help you in your profession? Will that certification or advanced degree make you more competitive in the job market? Does the real estate market point toward buying a bigger home this year? I like to think of our Analytical brain as that counselor side of our thinking that doesn’t necessarily judge, but does raise an eyebrow to get us thinking a little more critically about our new ideas.

So that the Structural part of our brain can then determine if we have the bandwidth to put this new goal into action. The Conceptual part of our brain asks “what if?” our Analytical brain asks “why would we?” and the Structural part of our brain asks “how will we?” This is the practical part of our thinking that says, “wait a minute, yes, we do want to get healthy, but we’ll also be in Palm Springs in 8 days, so there’s no way we can fulfill the 1 month challenge. Best to find something different.” Oh! Right. Details. That glorious ability to create a plan so that we can actually implement our lofty goals is the true genius of the Structural part of our brain.

The Social part of our brain is hoping we can find a juice-cleanse buddy. You know, so we can support each other. Will my family support me in my new endeavors? Who do I know who I can reach out to for support, encouragement or help if needed. If you have a preference in Social thinking, you share your New Year’s Resolutions with others. Why? So they can hold you accountable! The Conceptual part of our brain asks “what if?” our Analytical brain asks “why would we?” the Structural part of our brain asks “how will we?” and the Social part of our brain asks “who will we impact?”

We all have unique ways of wrestling with goals! As I mentioned, my tri-modal brain (A*SC) tends to put me in a bit of a troubling loop sometimes. Because I have a preference in Conceptual thinking, I’m always (not just at New Year’s) dreaming up new goals, ideas and dreams I want to pursue. And my preference in Analytical thinking anchors me enough to wade through what is a reasonable idea, which one will challenge me, and which ones I should dump. Then, because I have a preference in Social thinking, I wonder, who can help me? Who are my trusted resources? Who in my network will support me? (Incidentally, sometimes I’m wrong about who is supportive and who isn’t). And then comes my challenge: I have to work extra hard to stay focused and create a reasonable plan to achieve my goals. I burn out often, because my plan isn’t always solid. So while I have great goals and the ambition to achieve them, my downfall is often poor planning! Knowing this has been very useful for me because I now devote more attention to the up-front process (write an outline; or map out a timeline, or create an agenda) – all of those procedures that so many of you with a preference in Structural thinking do without blinking an eye, I have to work hard on. And I do. One of my goals this year is to focus more energy on the planning, organizing and procedural elements in my life, because I have many new initiatives I’m implementing in 2020!

What about you? How does your unique thinking and behavioral profile impact how you set goals and achieve them? How can Emergenetics help you become more aware of how you might trip yourself up when trying to break an old habit or achieve a new goal? How can Emergenetics help you be successful in achieving your goals? I’d love to hear from you if you care to share your stories and insights with me.

And while we’re at the subject of new beginnings, is this the year that you add more positivity and happiness to your life? Research clearly indicates there’s something called a “happiness advantage.” According to Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage,” our brains are 31% more productive at positive than at neutral, negative or stressed. If you’re interested in the concept of positive psychology and want to begin to explore the subject, check out Shawn’s Ted Talk, called The Happy Secret to Better Work.

In the meantime, I hope the New Year is already bringing blessings to your life and that you continue to realize the beauty that is only you!

Until next month,



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​© 2020 Karen Main for Innovations In Training.

Denver, CO, United States



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