31.12.2021   /  NEW YEAR 2022 GOALS

Goals v Resolutions: Creating and Keeping your New Year’s Wish List

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions and then break them. Others feel that goals are too lofty and focus on day-to-day tasks instead. Is it time to change your perspective on both?

Belinda D'Alessandro

The Covid–19 pandemic is nearing its third year, and you’ve heard it before. The New Year bombards us with lots of ideas for resolutions. They’re everywhere on the internet, periodicals, and social media.

But you may wonder, “What’s the point?” after another year of dealing with the Covid–19 pandemic. The question is, “Is it necessary for us to make resolutions?”

Even though there was (and still is) ambiguity surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, last year, a study of Verywell Mind readers showed an increased desire to make a New Year’s resolution, which instead motivated many people to keep pushing for self-improvement, despite the pandemic uncertainty. 

Why have Goals and Resolutions?

With or without crisis, having clear goals will help you see things more clearly and stay focused for the coming year, irrespective of whether or not you’re in an emergency.

But, of course, it’s another matter entirely whether or not you’ll stick to your resolutions in the long run. Our dreams and aspirations for 2021 may have been dashed again, and now we’re left to wonder if 2022 will be any better. So, why not kick off in style by taking back the reins with a new plan of action? 

What are Goals and Resolutions?

What’s the difference between goals and resolutions? While you may have set resolutions to improve your life, it is essential to recognize that a goal needs time and effort to make it happen. Goals result from a process that includes specific steps and tasks, making them more measurable than resolutions.

The concept of setting goals and making resolutions is to develop a specific plan of action to ensure you succeed in accomplishing something important. It’s about visualizing your success in your head, planning for it, taking action, and then following through on that plan until you achieve that goal. 

A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at.” Bruce Lee

Goals and resolutions are two different ways of looking at the same thing. Both are about setting yourself a clear direction for the future, and both involve taking action. The difference is that goals are about setting a target you’d like to achieve over an extended period, and resolutions are about making a change in your life.

The most important part of goal setting is to track your progress. Setting goals is pointless if you don’t have a way of knowing if you’re on track. 

Why do we need to create goals and resolutions?

The new year is a time for people to reflect, re-evaluate and plan for the future. Many people are all about setting big, ambitious goals, but that’s not always the best way to approach resolutions.

Some of the most successful people don’t make resolutions. The reasons for this are simple: we don’t need to be perfect, and it’s better to implement more minor changes throughout the year rather than one big goal at the start of it.

“The great danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” Michelangelo

It’s important to remember that you’re setting a target when you set a goal. You’re not necessarily saying, “I’m going to achieve this goal by this date.” If you say that, it becomes a deadline, and you can feel the pressure building up.

Instead, set a target. Say to yourself, “I’m going to achieve this goal by the end of this year.” Then work backwards: figure out what you need to do to achieve the goal.

Set a strategy for keeping your goals

Goals and resolutions are fundamental to our lives, yet only 38% of us have written goals. That’s why only 8% of us are actually successful in achieving them.

Creating goals is like planting seeds for success. They give us a clear direction in life, a vision that we can work towards. They also determine where our focus goes and what we choose to leave behind. Decide what you want and set your goals accordingly.

The first step to writing a goal is getting specific. Goals that are too general or broad will not be meaningful enough to help you stay motivated.

How can you set goals and resolutions that will last? 

Millions of people set goals and resolutions that they never follow through on every year. But knowing what your goals are and knowing how to reach them are different things.

We tend to set goals that are too broad or too vague. Vague goals are easy to forget and bad at motivating us to work towards them. They also make us feel like we’re not doing anything at all.

Broad goals are the exact opposite. We can brainstorm hundreds of ideas that could fit in with general goals, but it’s hard to narrow down what we really want. And if you must narrow your goals down even more, you may start to see a trend. Maybe you have to start with smaller goals and work your way up. Perhaps you need to set more than one goal at a time.

Whatever the case may be, remember it’s a process. It’s not going to happen overnight, and it’s okay if you must take a step back sometimes.

I’m still working on this, but it’s okay to set smaller goals and celebrate those victories.

Setting a big goal is a great way to get motivated and excited about what you want to achieve in the next year when you go into the new year. Set goals and resolutions that will last. Setting your goals and knowing how to get there is a great way to keep you on track every year.

So how do you set goals that you’ll be able to achieve? 

Have SMART goals

If your goals aren’t SMART, you won’t be able to accomplish them. When it comes to SMART goals, they are defined as:

  • SPECIFIC – Objectives must be clearly defined and unambiguous to be effective. It’s a good idea to split a larger goal into smaller ones.
  • MEASURABLE – When results can be measured and evaluated using qualitative and quantitative criteria, an objective is said to be measurable.
  • ATTAINABLE – Achieving a goal necessitates hard work and dedication. Each objective should have a level of ambition that is neither too high (frustration) nor too low (success) (boredom). Remember that you can always raise or lower the bar as you progress.
  • RELEVANT – To be achievable, a goal must take into account your current circumstances and your available resources (including time, energy, and money) (family, professional, financial). Determine how much time you spend on each activity and how it relates to the other goals you’ve established for yourself.
  • TIME-BOUND – The goal must have a specific deadline. Setting an end date and frequency (daily/weekly/etc.) allows the goal to be ongoing or only one time.

You’ll be more successful if you develop goals with these elements in them.

Write them down

Don’t merely focus on what you want to achieve — write it down. Make your goals more concrete and believable by doing this. As I mentioned in my last post, if it’s not written down, it didn’t, and won’t, happen!

Writing out your goals has been proven to be beneficial. According to research, such as that of Dr Gail Matthews of Dominican University of California, people who write down their goals have a better probability of completing more than those who don’t. 

Make your goals clear: Break them down

Make sure you can see your written goals to avoid losing focus. In addition, your destination should serve as a constant reminder of your ultimate goal.

Post them on your fridge or bathroom mirror as a reminder to yourself each morning of the goals you have set for yourself. Even if only to family and friends, making them public to keep you accountable can also be a valuable motivator.

Reduce the complexity of long-term and abstract objectives by segmenting them into smaller components.

Use a “goal ladder” to keep track of your progress. As you climb the ladder, establish a list of the smaller goals you need to complete to get to the top. 

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” Albert Einstein

Having decided on your goals, the following stage is to figure up a strategy for achieving those goals.

Prioritize your work and break it into smaller, more manageable chunks. Finally, make a plan of action to help you remain on track. A good technique is checking off each step as you complete it. This will help you track your progress and see how far you still have to go.

It won’t happen on its own. But, now that you’ve laid out your strategy for accomplishing your goals, it’s time to take action.

Implement your strategy. You’ll get closer to your objective even if you only do one tiny thing. 

Think of Potential Obstacles and Real Solutions

Successful people fail more frequently than unsuccessful ones because they persist despite setbacks. They have the tenacity to get back up and try again. They also believe that failures are only temporary setbacks, not permanent failures. They know that success is just around the corner.

“Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill

It’s because most writers think about writing as a chore. But research is fun! It opens up a world of possibilities and new ways to look at things. So if you want to generate fantastic ideas, you have to start viewing research as a way to have fun with writing rather than as a necessary evil on the route to writing your masterpiece.

Reflecting on your goals at the end of the year! 

The end of the year is a time of reflection. It’s a time to look back on what we’ve done and look ahead to what we want to do. That’s why it’s such a great time to evaluate your goals and set new ones for the coming year. Setting goals and reflecting on your progress are vital to accomplishing them.

The first step in the process is to set your goals. The second step is to reflect on those goals at the end of each month. Then, finally, look back on what you’ve done, evaluate your successes and failures, and determine what you can do to improve.

Make time to review your goals, and your progress

Finally, when you reach the end of the year, take time to sit down and reflect on all that you’ve learned throughout the year. Take time to look back at your goals and achievements and consider if they have changed or remained the same.

We know that reflection makes us more motivated and productive in the future, so it’s easy to understand why the “end of year review” has become a standard technique for productivity. Of course, the most successful companies in the world do an annual review with their team, but you can apply this method to your life as well.

If you don’t have time to do a full-fledged review every year, at least take some time to look back on your goals; consider the progress you’ve made so far and what you want to accomplish going forward.

Taking my own advice

So, I’m going to take my own advice and make them public. Here are my resolutions for 2022:

  • Read more 
  • Write more
  • Listen To Podcasts
  • Learn a new skill
  • Clear out the clutter in my home

At the end of the day

A goal is something you want to accomplish. It should be specific and in the form of action. A resolution is a commitment to take a particular action, but it doesn’t have a time limit or due date.

By picking achievable and realistic goals, writing them down and sharing them, you can begin accomplishing them before the end of January. 

I hope this post has helped you set some goals for 2022!

Final thoughts 

The past year was one for the books, and a new year means a new chapter. From resolutions to bucket lists, I hope you check them all off this year and that 2022 is an incredible part of your story.

So, what are some goals or resolutions you have for 2022? What are some of your favourite ways to stay motivated? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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