You’ll Find A Way

Why goals are different to resolutions

The New Year symbolizes the ending of one year and the beginning of yet another. We celebrate this event, send new year wishes, and some of us write New Year Resolutions, yet it is only a moment in time, like any other day.

A new year quote said by Hamilton Wright Mabie reinforces the thought that it is just another night: “New Year’s Eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights.”

However, what Hamilton points out here for some reason we think differently on this night. We stop and reflect on the year gone by, some set resolutions, and others set goals. But we all think differently on the eve of a new year. That night we think of what we want to change. We look forward with anticipation to a new year beginning, and, for some of us, we are happy to see the old year go.

Why do resolutions fail?
Many of us set resolutions only to be disappointed by not achieving them. The statement sounds good and it is truly something we want to achieve. We find resolutions are often discussed. People will ask you what resolutions are you setting for the new year. I’m not sure why this tradition started, but it is one that is carried on today. The majority of resolutions do fail; we may start out with enthusiasm and determination but in most cases, it dwindles out after the first month or in some cases the first week. We settle back into our routine and the resolution becomes secondary or is forgotten about altogether.

Why do New Years Resolutions fail?

Mainly, because they are only a statement, or what we wish for in the coming year. There are usually no action plans, no deadlines, no backup plans. Sometimes they are unrealistic resolutions, with no other thought or plans besides the statement.

I was recently reading an article that discussed not setting New Years Resolutions, but rather acknowledging your achievements of the past year. These thoughts reminded me of a quote by Ellen Goodman: “We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential.”

We set resolutions because we want something to change in our life. But if we are not specific and have no detailed plans about how we are going to change it then we can expect things to remain as they currently are. And we will end the year without the resolution accomplished. So rather than set them if we should recognize what we have accomplished in the past year and build on them, where is there the potential to do more, to be more. Once we identify those things we should set goals, not resolutions.

Common resolutions
You may recognise some of the common resolutions:
– I am going to help others more, I will get involved and volunteer my time or give away more of my money;
– getting out of debt, I will get rid of all credit card debt;
– lose weight, I will lose 25 pounds
– enjoy life more; I will work less and play more
– spend more time with family; I will set aside quality time for my family
– quit smoking or drinking; I am going to quit this year
– get more exercise; I am going to join a gym or start walking every day
– learn something new; I am going to take a course
– get a better job; I am going to look for a job I like
the list could go on and on.

Goals are different to resolutions
Now that the holiday is over and you are back in the swing of day to day routine rather than setting resolutions you may want to look at setting goals for the coming year. Goals are very different than resolutions. Goals have time frames attached to them; they have action plans for each step; they are written down.

When setting your goals, don’t forget to develop your action plans with deadlines for each step to achieve your final goal.

The art of setting goals properly so that you are in a good position to achieve them is to not only write your goals down but to include each action that you need to take to accomplish your goal. One thing to do is to sit with another person after you have finished this step and let someone who has no knowledge of what you want to accomplish read each step. The reason is this: if someone else reads the steps and does not really know what to do or is confused, then you have a good indication that your steps are not complete.

The next step is to set a specific date for each of these action steps. This is critical because you want to create a sense of urgency in order to move forward. The more progress you can make within a short period of time the better. It is this momentum that you want to keep so you actually see tangible proof that your plan is working.

A new beginning
You will accomplish so much more if you just enjoy the new year, recognise your success rather than setting a resolution that you may never achieve. Start 2018 with a new beginning by setting achievable goals, not resolutions that will be forgotten.