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This is why goals are better than resolutions

Updated: Apr 6, 2023

There is always a restorative feeling and a fresh start that comes with beginning a new year. This helps us to pause for a second to reset, reflect and welcome any changes that we need to to grow into the best vision of ourselves.

Most of us grew up in a culture of resolutions and this post is going to help you understand that you are better off setting goals rather than resolutions. I’m afraid we conflate the two.

Research shows that 80% of New Year's resolutions fail by the beginning of February. This is because resolutions are usually blanket statements with no actionable steps. The scenario is that everyone decides on a resolution(s) every new year And I believe it is safe to say that most resolutions are created out of pressure.

To define these two words according to the Oxford dictionary;

A resolution is a firm decision or a promise to yourself to do or not to do something. A Goal is the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

When you make a resolution, it usually involves making a change to a part of your life, such as drinking more water, drinking less alcohol, focusing on your career, or building better relationships for yourself.

Goals provide a direction that allows us to achieve our desired outcome. They have a definite endpoint. You’ll know when you’ve achieved your goal.

What you don’t realise is, Your resolutions are made up of goals. If you resolve to save $10,000, you need to set goals for how you will accomplish this. Without goals, resolutions become obsolete. Setting goals will help you know exactly what and where to place your focus.

I’ll use this to remind you that your goals need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely). I am going to use one of the most universally common goals as an example:

I am going to lose weight and fit in my size 10 clothes again

S- Specific

State clearly and precisely what your goal is. It needs no further explanation when you refer to it in future. State them positively.

Example: I will lose 40 pounds to be able to fit in my size 10 clothes again

M- Measurable

You should be able to measure your progress towards that goal. Work out a measure for how you will know when your goal is achieved.

Example: I will exercise at least 3 times every week.

A- Achievable

Your goal should be possible to achieve and at the same time challenge you to bring your best to the table.

Example: I will invest in a personal trainer for the first 12 weeks to help me understand what routine will best help me reach my weight loss goal.

R- Relevant

Be realistic about your skill level, the tools and resources available to you when you set your goal. Make sure It is relevant to you and contributes to your broader goals. Do not set a goal based on what someone else is doing.

Example: I am at my healthiest and I feel more energised at a size 10.

T- Timely, Time-bound, Trackable

To create urgency, you should define the timeline of your goals. For example, a start date, a target date, a time frame

Example: I will start exercising on 15th January and reach my goal by 15th December.

SMART Goal summary:

I will invest in a personal trainer 3 times a week for 12 weeks starting 15th January, to help me understand routines that will best help me lose 40 pounds by 15th December so that I can feel healthier, energised and ultimately, fit into my size 10 clothes again.

Setting your goal this way provides you with clear steps that will help you hold yourself accountable and achieve your goals effectively. Remember, set your goals for you, stay focused and commit your self to them. Put on your horse blinders and do not stop until you have actioned every step.

As we begin this new year, I hope these tips prove helpful in your endeavours.

Happy New Year!

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