So, by now I’ve mentioned more than once that I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. What I do instead is (1.) plan and prepare for the year ahead and (2.) make a list of goals and action steps to be successful in the New Year. Today I’m taking that statement a step further by explaining to you why and (hopefully) convincing you to do the same.
The Difference Between Goals and New Year’s Resolutions
If we take a minute to look at the actual definitions of the words, a resolution is a formal expression, or a statement of intention. In essence, it’s the determination to do something.
While that is all well and good, making a resolute statement or sentiment of what you believe to be a fact does little more than that–make a statement. On the other hand, a goal is the result toward which effort is aimed. That’s the key word–effort. You put everything you have into achieving that goal and you make a plan and take steps to get there.
Why You Need to Focus on Goals Instead of Resolutions
Okay, so understandably, you can use resolutions and goals to get to where you want to go, but to me it gets too messy when you try to consider too many things at once. With that, I like to focus my energy and effort on setting and reaching my goals. Here is why:
1. Goals make a statement of the intended end result as well as the plan to get there.
When I talk about making goals, I’m talking about setting SMART goals or at least a variation of the sort. My determining to achieve a goal, you are making a statement that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-oriented.
2. Action steps are apparent with goals.
I am very much a concrete-thinker. I like things right in front of me and very specific. Whereas a resolution may say, “This year I want to become a better reader,” a goal is broken down more concretely. For example, my goal might be, “This year, I will read at least 2 books a month to become a better reader.”
3. Goals are intended to be achieved.
I don’t know if it’s just me or not, but it seems like there is a stigma surrounding New Year’s resolutions. As in, you set them, but you’re just going to break them anyway. Why set yourself up for failure setting a resolution when you can set yourself up for success with a well-planned goal?
4. Goals measure progress.
Again, I’m talking about well-defined goals here. When you set a goal, you should include a measurable aspect to it, so that you can track your progress. This element in itself makes it easier to achieve compared to a resolution.
5. Goals grow with you.
When you set a goal, you’re determining an endpoint and creating a plan. Once you’ve reached that point, then you move onto the next step of the plan. On other hand, resolutions are simple statement without the room for flexibility and growth.
As you prepare for your year ahead, I encourage you to take the time to determine what goals you want to achieve this year. Don’t feel pressured by all of the New Year’s resolution talk. Be yourself. Identify your direction, and make your plan to get there–one well-written goal at a time.
What are your goals for the year? Do you traditionally make New Year’s resolutions?