Do's and Don'ts of Goal-Setting in the New Year, According to Science

5 Min. Read | January 4, 2022

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New Year’s resolutions are notoriously hard to keep. Although millions of people set them every year, fewer than 8 percent end up seeing them through. Given that the majority of goals are health-related, this disappointing statistic shows the need to adopt a more targeted approach.

According to Statista, the number one goal for 2021 was exercising more and getting fit. Other top goals included losing weight, saving money, eating better, and pursuing a new career. So whatever you’ve set your sights on for 2022, give yourself an edge by using these strategies for lasting behavior change.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Don’t rely on willpower alone to reach your goals. Setting a few parameters will give you a better chance of staying on track.

  • Combine your new habit with a routine activity: If you want to work out more, eat healthier, or get better about budgeting, pair your new activity with something you do every day. For example, review your finances as your drink your morning coffee, or schedule tomorrow’s workout after brushing your teeth before bed.
  • Be accountable: Invite a reliable partner, coach, trainer, or support person to help you reach your goals. Having someone to check in with can reinforce your reasons for change.
  • Reflect on your success: Documenting your progress is an excellent way to see how far you’ve come. Take photos, keep a journal, or find an app suited to your goals. Then, when your motivation starts to dwindle, seeing how far you’ve come can give you the power to keep going.

Pitfalls to Avoid

Transform your dream into reality by watching out for these common mistakes.

  • Choosing unattainable goals: It’s okay to be ambitious, but resolutions that are too far out of reach can be overwhelming and hard to stick to. Instead, break your ultimate goal into achievable micro-goals, like running a mile before signing up for a marathon.
  • Not scheduling time for your goals: Reaching your resolutions means developing new and consistent habits. But if you don’t set aside the time needed, there’s a good chance your goals will end up on the back burner.
  • Striving for perfection: An all-or-nothing mentality is a sure bet for failure. Accept the reality that slip-ups happen, and don’t waste time feeling guilty. Instead, learn from your mistakes and get back on track sooner than later.

Start With GoodCell

It’s been said that a goal without a deadline is just a dream. But when it comes to health-focused resolutions, there’s no time to waste. FSA/HSA-eligible GoodCell can help.

GoodCell’s curated blood panels are specially designed with your best interests in mind. We use the latest science to select metrics that point to elevated disease risks and the early signs of a problem. Our genetic screening tools measure variants that matter, skipping unnecessary testing that leads to needless worry. All the genetic variants we track are actionable; the risks they point to can be reduced by lifestyle or medical interventions. The support of your dedicated Member Relationship Manager and GoodCell’s genetic counselors will help you set individualized lifestyle goals that fit your needs.

Perhaps most critically, GoodCell provides personal biobanking, which could be essential for your future health. Science is always evolving, with stem cell therapies at the forefront of medical progress. Your cells will never be as healthy as they are today. By storing your best cells now, you’ll keep the door open for cutting-edge treatments as they become available. This new year, enroll in GoodCell to make strides towards a healthier 2022 and beyond.


Idaho State Employee Wellness Program. New Year, New Habits. Updated December 2020.

Statista. What Are Your 2021 Resolutions?. Updated May 2021.

UAB Medicine News. 10 Secrets of People Who Keep Their New Years Resolutions.

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