Resolutions Or Goals?

"lf you want to be happy set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes"- Andrew Carnegie 

I will admit, this piece is weeks behind but hey, better late than never. 😂

With the change in year comes one constant fuss: people setting grand resolutions and failing spectacularly. The question is, why? Every year, around this time, l watch all social media posts pile up in my newsfeeds with hopeful, and sometimes ambitious goals for the New Year. We fantasise about getting more organised, taking up a new hobby or maybe we'll finally gain weight. The illusion of a fresh start invigorates us but it rarely lasts, and if we fail at our resolutions, we feel more shame than ever before. But hey, there's always a next year.

Truth is, a day on the calendar alone can't provide the discipline we need to make major changes. After too many years of the same experience, l developed a dislike for resolutions. I wanted the changes, but in a way that would give me a legitimate chance to make them stick. So l gave up resolutions in favour of something different - setting up goals. 

The difference?  A resolution is a firm decision to do, or no to do something. It is a promise to yourself typically more open-minded, with no specific time frame for change. Making a resolution usually involves changing some aspect of your life with statements of intent. Contrarily, a goal is a targeted outcome that often has a timeline, be it short-term or long-term. Goals are not merely intentions; they are a commitment. 

I used to be the most resolute resolution-maker. Every January, I would obediently sit down and write out my resolutions for the following year because I have always been goal-oriented, and l enjoy the sensation of accomplishment. They were excellent resolutions, too! I used to make lofty aspirations like, "In the new year, I will gain 20 kgs." Also, get a car! And lead a flawless lifestyle! And regularly read the Bible! Oh, and strive to be the best possible girlfriend, sister, and daughter!

The issue? I never followed through on those resolutions. I would begin by making a lot of effort, but by February or March, I would run out of willpower and begin to subtly revert to my old habits. Every winter, when I thought back on all the incredible things I hadn't done, I would feel guilty and humiliated.

When I used to make resolutions, they frequently revolved on lofty aspirations that I couldn't maintain for more than a week at a time, like "saving money." I didn't break down these resolutions into more manageable tasks, such as making breakfast at home rather than purchasing Choppies toast on the way to work, which is why I wasn't able to keep them (and making sure I was going to the grocery store instead of ordering in so I would have what I needed to make meals at home).

I grew weary of the humiliating setbacks that occurred as a result of my failure to maintain the new diet, gain 20 kgs, or begin a new, intense glutes-focused training regimen😂. Every January, by the end of the month, my enthusiastic resolutions had withered and I had fallen back into my old habits, with the added advantage of feeling much worse.

This is not a fundamental lack of faith in people; rather, it is a truth. According to research, only 8% of the population actually keep their New Year's Resolutions. Unfortunately, this failure has become so absurdly routine that it is anticipated. Since then, I have ceased setting resolutions—not because I don't believe in their importance, but rather because, like many others who do, I failed to keep them after the first few weeks of the year. Less than 10% of resolutions made for the new year are really carried out. Why then do we set resolutions every year?

Resolutions Vs. Commitments/Goals

I recently read an article in Inc. that urged readers to set commitments and goals for the new year rather than resolutions. According to the article's author, Amy Vetter, "the major reason I am no longer a fan of traditional New Year's resolutions is that they focus too much on the end result without giving sufficient emphasis to the planning needed to attain them." You must invest more into the process than into the end result if you want long-lasting change.

In essence, Vetter is arguing that change-making actions frequently lack sufficient presence. And while "investing" in one's journey can be difficult, it need not feel like a chore. Finding methods to really engage with and appreciate the journey makes it more enjoyable for me.

People set goals in order to ultimately grow. However, growth itself is a process rather than a final destination, a procedure that only starts when carried out with the right frame of mind. Most people's "transformation proclamations" for the New Year are simply resolves, lacking in sufficient planning and strategy. And this is why they fall short.

In light of this, consider the following advice to make 2023 the year you make some significant goals rather than resolutions:

Take a look in the mirror: Setting goals that are effective requires reflection; it should not be done haphazardly or on the spur of the moment. Knowing who you are, how you got here, and what you need moving ahead is crucial when defining personal or professional goals. Be precise, grounded, and truthful. Don't merely state that you desire to put on weight. How many pounds would you like to gain? How soon? How?

Write them down: Internalized goals rarely materialize. To put it another way, they are just resolutions. Writing down your goals sets the wheels in motion, helping clarify your objectives and ultimate destination, helping you stay the course no matter what. 

Make a plan of Action: Now is the moment to keep your word. Your goals have been decided upon. A comprehensive action plan has been made by you. Because it brings with it the uncomfortable feeling of change, this is frequently the hardest challenge to overcome and the place where most individuals fail. Even while we are aware that something needs to change, we can only move forward by really doing something about it. Let's get moving and stop thinking and start acting.

In the end, progress and process matter more than perfection and resolutions. The finest aspect is that we can make goals whenever we want. It takes time and effort to make significant changes, therefore we must prepare for setbacks. Making mistakes is OK; therefore, we should practice self-compassion when it occurs and try our best.

 While resolutions don't always provide the best path to significant change, New Year's Day gives us the impression of a fresh start. Instead, think about making intentions and goals this year if you're like me and want to achieve genuine progress that will last. You might even have cause to celebrate after January.

Yes, I will never make another resolution for the rest of my life because making new year's resolutions was a complete failure for me. I understood that I didn't have to wait till the entire "new year, new resolutions" thing. I came to the realization that waiting until January 1st was merely an excuse to, well, put things off and that I could create reasonable goals at any time during the year. We do this for what purpose? Why must we wait for a particular day, the change of the calendar, or until the clock strikes midnight? Why?

So, for 2023, will it be goals or resolutions?




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