If you are planning on making New Year’s Resolutions this year, don’t bother. Set a few specific goals instead and prepare for real success. Many people will tell you they do not make resolutions for the New Year because they have never managed to keep them in years past. Their reason for not setting resolutions is not wrong, but the source of the failure isn’t what they might think. If you want to make a positive impact in your life you have to start by setting yourself up for success. Let’s take a look at what those who make resolutions are doing and why they may have trouble reaching success when compared to those who set goals.
First, we need to unpack that word “resolution”.
[A] resolution is a commitment that a person makes to one or more personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit. – from the Wikipedia definition of New Year’s Resolution
The resolution made is simply a promise or commitment towards a goal they have in mind. The trouble begins if that is all the further they go, resolving to do something. There is no action implied in the word, no plan of attack embedded in their statement. There is, however, hope. Notice the word “goal” in the definition of resolution? Therein is the secret to success!
A goal is a desired result an animal or a system envisions, plans and commits to achieve—a personal or organizational desired end-point in some sort of assumed development. - Wikipedia
The goal, when set properly, gives a plan of action. Notice that the definition of the word goal contains action. Having a goal means you have envisioned your target, making it specific and focused enough to be attainable. Setting a goal also implies that you have set some plans on the “how’s” and “when’s” of getting to your goal. You now have a set of defined steps you can take towards your goal and the ability to track progress and enjoy small motivational victories along the way towards that ultimate goal you set. Another benefit of setting goals versus simply making a resolution is that the goal will help you determine the relevance and impact of your actions along the way. The “warm and fuzzy” natures of most resolutions make them very difficult to use as a “yard stick” to measure future actions against when it comes time to make critical decisions. With a clearly defined goal every choice can be weighed for how it will impact your eventual success.
As we enter into 2013 please consider setting goals instead of making resolutions. Resolutions make great conversation but will do little to get you where you want to be by the end of 2013. Set a few specific goals for improving your life and let your goals make a real impact in the coming year!