New Year's Resolutions vs. Goals
I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. I learned a long time ago that they’re easy to make but hard to keep.
Say you make a resolution to give up chocolate for a year. The first few days, weeks, maybe even months are easy. But then you think, “What am I trying to prove?” And “Who will care if I do eat chocolate?” So you partake of the delicacy, and your New Year’s resolution is out the window.
Once you break a resolution, it’s over. Your resolution failed.
Fitness centers know this truth only too well. Every January, membership increases as people realize they ate too much over the holidays and set out to do something about it in the new year. But by the end of February, the majority of those new members stop attending. Their motivation for life change wanes. Maybe they missed a day or two of going to the gym. The promise of meeting their New Year’s resolutions quickly dissipates.
I stopped making resolutions because of too many experiences like that. But I still believe the dawning of a new year is a good time to reflect on the previous one and put realistic, attainable plans in place. So these days, instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I set goals.
Whereas a resolution is dashed once broken, a goal is more achievable. You might fail along the way, but you just pick yourself up and try again. The goal remains in sight.
For example, if you want to get healthier and stronger in 2017, you might make a goal to that effect — and that would be more attainable than committing to going to the gym five days a week for 50 weeks of the year. See the difference?
As I ruminate 2016, I smile at my accomplishments. It was a good year. And I look ahead to making 2017 even better.
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Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"