Setting Goals to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick
January 4, 2021
It’s that time of year. AKA: the start of a new year, and the setting of new resolutions.
While many of us are grateful 2020 (and all of its craziness) is over, we aren’t exactly sure what 2021 is going to look like, either. That’s why it’s important to set resolutions that are within reason — and won’t be affected by things like lockdowns and quarantines (because they probably aren’t over).
To help you out (and remind ourselves), we’d like to discuss the differences between goals and resolutions, and make sure you’re set up to succeed at keeping those resolutions. Because we all need something exciting to work towards and accomplish in such uncertain times.
Whether you’ve set resolutions for your personal life or your business, you should be able to use this info to help support you in your journey.
Inside this blog post you’ll learn:
✔️ The difference between resolutions and goals.
✔️ Why resolutions don’t usually stick.
✔️ How to combine goals with your resolutions to reach success.
Goals vs. Resolutions
Goals: A goal is your target.
It’s a desired outcome that you hope to attain. Goals have a definite and precise end point. You’ll know when you’ve achieved your goal. You can place a time frame on them. There are both short-term and long-term goals you set for yourself. Goals can also fall into various categories among the different aspects of your life. For example, you can set career, relationship or personal goals.
Resolutions: A resolution is a promise to yourself.
It’s something that’s usually more open-ended than a specific goal. Making a resolution usually entails altering some aspect of your life, such as eating healthier, focusing on loved ones more or managing your finances better.
How They’re Related
These two terms actually go hand-in-hand. That’s why they’re so often referenced together.
Your resolutions are made up of goals. The resolution is the overarching theme or the implied direction you wish to take with your life. The goals are the activities that fall within the theme or the specific steps to take you to that place.
If you resolve to lose weight or eat healthier, which is probably the most common New Year’s Resolution, you need to set goals for how you will accomplish such a wish.
Without goals, resolutions often go unmet. You’ve likely experienced setting a resolution, only to have it fall flat and be left behind within a month or two. That’s natural and lies within the realm of normal human behavior. We attend to what’s immediately in front of us.
Setting goals and checking in with them on a regular basis keeps them at the forefront of your mind, making those resolutions more likely to become a reality.
Essentially, a resolution is something you will constantly be working toward, while a goal is specific and finite. Resolutions are made up of goals. They are relevant and intertwined.
Why Resolutions Don’t Usually Stick
Chances are good that you’ve made resolutions, probably with the start of a new year, which have failed to stick. You’re not alone — it happens to me almost every year.
But maybe, if we can understand why resolutions often don’t work, we can find a way to make this year’s more successful. I’d like to take some time to share my thoughts with you on this matter.
You (We) Take on Too Much
This can happen in a number of ways. One common error when making resolutions is to choose a bunch of things you want to change about yourself RIGHT NOW.
Your brain can only handle so many things at once. It’s not possible for you to focus on making too many changes. Instead, choose one or two resolutions upon which to place priority.
Also, know that these changes won’t occur overnight. Many experts believe it takes at least a month of concerted effort to make something a habit. So keep in mind that progress will occur in small increments, rather than in one magnificent transformation. Understand that taking baby steps to instill new habits will be a far more effective approach than simply expecting to change a long-ingrained behavior immediately.
You (We) Were Too Vague
“I’m going to lose weight this year,” is probably the most common resolution ever made. How many times have you uttered these words? How many times have you been successful in losing a significant amount of weight or even changing your health for the better?
I’m not condemning you. I’ve been there, too. I’ve resolved to lose weight every year for the last 15 years of my life. And in 2020, I lost 30 pounds in the first three months, then gained every ounce back.
The problem isn’t that you (we) lack willpower, or with any flaw in your (our) character whatsoever. It’s that the intention is simply too vague.
A well-defined resolution should specify aspects such as the number of pounds you’d like to lose and a time frame for which you hope to see the change occur. In addition, planning should include benchmarks for measuring your progress.
You (We) Lacked Focus
Without proper focus on your resolution, it’s bound to fail. “Out of sight, out of mind,” may be a cliché, but most sayings such as these are based in some bit of truth.
Getting busy with day to day responsibilities, poor time management, daily stressors and other distractions can rob your attention from your important goals. Deciding to prioritize your resolution and making a plan to keep it at the forefront of your mind will go far toward making it a reality.
Combining Resolutions with Good Goals Is the Key to Long-Term Success
You’ve learned so far that a resolution is an idea, promise or philosophy for something you desire. Goals are the steps that will help you make that resolution a reality. A resolution is ongoing, while a goal has an endpoint.
Combining resolutions with good goal setting can be the key to finding long-term success. To making that life-change a reality.
So let’s take a look at the steps you need to take to combine your resolutions and goals successfully.
Define Your Goals
First thing’s first. You need to clearly define the goals that will support your resolution.
It’s okay for your overarching resolution to be a bit abstract. For example, you may go with the standard, “I want to become healthier.” We’ve discussed how that’s kind of a vague statement and is likely to result in failure, but fortunately, you can beat the trap of breaking your resolution by supporting it with defined goals.
These could include the number of pounds you’d like to lose over the next six months, the types of changes you will make in your diet and the kinds of physical activity you plan to include in your life, along with the number of times you’ll work out each week.
These goals are clear and specific. You can measure them, and they have an end point. Just because they end, however, doesn’t mean they can’t be revised or added to in the future.
Make a Plan
Next, after you’ve defined your goals, it’s time to make a plan for how to achieve them.
You’ll need a plan if you want to maintain your motivation as you strive to reach your goals. Your plan should involve aspects like how you will measure your success, at which points you will check on your progress, who you may need assistance from in order to succeed in your pursuits, and in what ways will you know you have reached each goal.
Practical examples can include weighing yourself and recording the numbers on a weekly basis, talking to your family about proposed menu changes for the household, or writing regular workout times on your calendar.
Follow These Tips
In addition, there are some general guidelines that can help you as you begin the process of creating your resolutions.
Be patient with yourself. As I noted previously, achieving change doesn’t happen overnight. Cut yourself some slack if you mess up. Just get back on track with your plan as soon as you can.
Remember that it’s not “all or nothing.” Every baby step you take is progress in the right direction.
Celebrate your milestones. Each hurdle you clear is a reason to be proud of yourself and will help to motivate you to move onto the next goal.
This is how you combine resolutions with goals in order to reach your most-desired achievements. Moving forward with purpose in life is essentially what setting resolutions are all about.
I hope you’re starting to see that these things are, indeed, possible. And know that while you’re working towards your newest resolution, I’m right there beside you, working towards mine.