WWFY: Goals vs Resolutions

Near the beginning of the month I posted about how I chose a Word for the Year, instead of making a bunch of goals and resolutions.  So far, I’m really liking not feeling the self-induced pressure that usually starts creeping into my thoughts right about now.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a list of goals that I want to set for myself, and one of these days I will sit down and plan how to achieve them, I just didn’t start the year off with a list of improvements I want to make in my life.  However, while that seems to be working well for me, I know many people are busy setting goals, resolutions or both and I thought it would be a great time to take a look at what works for you at the beginning of a new year.  Are you a goal setter, a resolution maker, neither, or a combo of both?




There are a ton of articles and books out there about how to make New Year’s resolutions and how to stick with them.  It’s a MASSIVE topic that seems to gain momentum every year.  So, I thought we could take a look at resolutions first.  To get a better handle on why resolutions are often times seen as something different from goals, I decided to look up the definition.

Resolution:  A firm decision to do or not do something; the quality of being determined or resolute.

That’s a pretty awesome definition, rather empowering don’t you think? With words like firm and determined who wouldn’t want to make a few of those?  Puts a whole new perspective on writing resolutions.   But did you know that New Year’s Resolutions have their own definition?  I didn’t, but looked it up on a whim, and this is what I found.

New Year’s Resolutions:  A New Year’s resolution is a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_year’s_resolutions

Ah, now that’s more what I think when I think of writing resolutions.  They are sort of like generalized thoughts or ideas of where you want the year to go.   Often times resolutions start with action words like start, quit, lose, gain, ect… They are the visions of what we want in our lives, and most time they are not quantifiable.  We want to “eat more healthy”, “lose some weight”, “run a marathon” or other things like that.  They are full of promise, hope and ambition.  They are things we dream of and long for; simple statements of things we want to change.

Goals on the other hand are a little bit different.  If a resolution is a decision or promise to do or not do something, a goal is the place we want to end up after making it.

Goal: the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

Goals are defined.  Good goals are quantifiable.  Where a resolution maker says “I will lose weight this year”, a goal setter says “I will lose 20lbs by December 31st, 2014”.  They’re both looking to do the same thing, but the goal setter is looking for specific results.  Goals are set, steps are thought out on how to reach those goals.  When we set a goal we are focusing in on what we want to accomplish.  Many times, setting a goal is followed by mapping out the steps or actions we need to take to get to reach it.

The difference between the two is best shown by how we do each on.  We make resolutions and we set goals.  A resolution is something we hope to do, a goal is something we will do.  Does that seem like splitting hairs?  It might be, but I think it’s all in how we look at it.  Neither one is better than the other, it’s all a matter of what works best for you.

So what works best for you?  Are you a goal setter?  A resolution maker?  A little bit of both?  Chime in below to share your thoughts.


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