Why You Should Set Goals Not Resolutions for 2012

As 2011 comes to a close, I’m looking at 2012 with cautious hope. I hear lots of people say they want it to be “a better year” but what does that really mean? Better finances? Health? Sleep? It’s too vague in my opinion and will likely keep them wanting. How can it be a better year if you don’t do anything about it? Granted there are some things out of our control, but we can still make changes to help ourselves overall.

At the end of every December, people scramble to start working on New Year’s Resolutions. Unfortunately, less than half of us will continue to work on them beyond January. I think the stat is more like 90% drop them. And a very slim few will still be working on them come June or July. I don’t want to be that person this year. I have too much to work towards!

Maybe the problem isn’t a lack of motivation but rather a lack of direction. .. A plan of attack. To be successful we need to first change our mindset from resolutions to goals. Then we need to develop what we are going to do to reach them and how we will know we reached them (outcome). I’m going to be posting a series about my goals, both personal and professional (blog!) and my plans for them. I hope to provide progress updates throughout the year as well. If you are feeling lost, maybe my examples will help you develop your own plan?

Okay, so why do we want to focus on GOALS rather than RESOLUTIONS?

Resolutions imply that you need to change, and that you are resolving to do that….but without a clear target (in most cases). They are simply statements of things you want to be different. They tend to be broad, blanket type statements.

I want to lose weight.

I want to quit smoking.

I want to be debt-free.

It’s great to want to work on these things, but wanting is just the beginning! Plus, resolutions have become meaningless since people abandon them. Have you kept up your past resolutions? Well, let’s not keep that tag of failure on your aspirations any longer!

Goals give you something to work towards. They are measurable. They carry more weight since they are more specific.

I want to lose 50 lbs by August.

I want to be smoke-free by Valentine’s Day.

I want to pay off my credit cards within 2 years.

These goals still need work in order for anyone to achieve them, but they seem to have a better call to action, don’t you think? Plus, goals don’t imply that YOU need to be changed. They imply that you are working towards something. It might be to improve upon your life, but it sounds more positive. Achievements are something to be proud of, after all.

Sure, it might be a matter of nitpicking definitions and connotations of words, but it seems easier to continue plugging away at a goal after slipping up. When you break a resolution, it just feels like it’s time to give up. Or maybe that’s just me?

Next time I’ll share what my personal goals are for 2012!

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