Happy New Year! This is that time of year when most people are looking toward the future. They tend to want to forget the year that’s ended citing the challenges and obstacles they faced along the way that they were not able to overcome or that they perhaps, struggled to overcome. It’s the time to make resolutions for the new year.
In many cases, they want to rid themselves of bad habits or traits they have in the hopes of becoming a better person and creating a better life. With the new year comes a new beginning, hope and a renewed sense of “can do”. They make resolutions for the new year so they don’t fall into the same pitfalls they did previously. But what is a resolution, really?
Resolutions and Goals
Resolutions and goals are sometimes used interchangeably. What do you want to do differently? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to stop eating junk food? How about getting serious about exercising or putting the cigarettes down? These are some of the typical resolutions you’ll hear other people make or even may make yourself.
So, what’s wrong with that? Well, nothing in and of itself. But once you state your resolution, what’s next? These can just as easily be goals. Likewise, once stated, what’s next? There are two very distinct outcomes for each.
People make resolutions for the new year that they can’t keep. It’s not that the resolution is unworthy. Making the resolution is something that makes people feel good at the particular moment. The thought of what they intend on doing is pleasurable. However, there’s no real commitment and no real plan.
A resolution is just a statement of what someone wants to do to make a change in his/her life. There’s nothing else.
Even if an attempt is made, the eventual realization of the work involved causes the person to put it off, procrastinate, and eventually forget about it. The “feel good” feeling about making a resolution in the here and now is not the same feeling a person gets later on in the future…when it’s time to get it done. This is why resolutions fail before the end of the second week of January.
Goals are also statements of what one wants to achieve in the coming year. It might very well be a dream that he wants to realize or at least begin the process of realizing. The difference is that there is an actual action plan to see it through. People who set goals are more serious about achieving them. This is why they set the goal then have a plan of action to achieve it.
For example, a person may want to exercise as a regular activity in his everyday life. If he says his resolution for the new year is to exercise more, then his intention is clear but there’s no intention of actually exercising more. Getting busy in the actual day to day work of exercising is not appealing although the thought is satisfying but that’s as far as it goes.
On the other hand, if the same person states that his goal is to make exercise a regular part of his life and then goes the step further with a plan on how he intends on accomplishing it, then it’s more likely that he will.
How To Set Goals
In setting goals, you want to make sure that they are SMART goals. SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based. Let’s look more closely.
S – specific meaning that the goal is clear and well-defined.
M – measurable meaning that there is a desired time when the goal will be completed.
A – attainable meaning that the goal can be reached.
R – realistic meaning that the goal can be accomplished with the knowledge, resources and time that is available.
T – time-based – meaning there is enough time to achieve the goal.
If you want to make changes to your life, whether bad habits or traits, begin working on a dream or passion, or anything else, remember to set goals with clear steps on how you will achieve them rather than resolutions that just sound good and make you feel better.
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Your partner on the journey,
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