Resolutions vs. Goal Setting
For many people the beginning of a brand new year is the perfect time to start “doing better and being better.” Their good intentions may include dieting, exercising, smoking cessation, limiting fast food, dealing with financial problems, learning a new skill, or simply spending more time with family.
Some have grand ideas to wipe the slate clean and change everything wrong in their lives. Unfortunately, they are no better equipped to tackle problem areas in January any more than they were in December. Too often the resolutions they make are difficult or impossible to achieve, leading to the belief of multitudes that New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken.
New Year’s resolutions are indeed easy to make, but can be hard to keep. The road to success may be in a change of mindset. Instead of making resolutions that carry the connotation of easily broken, instead set goals, which by following a few simple rules can be obtained.
Pick only one goal and put all your efforts into it. After you achieve that one, you can always set another. Success breeds confidence and a greater likelihood of persistence. Although small changes may seem insignificant, some change is better than none and could lead to larger accomplishments.
A few guidelines for setting goals and obtaining them:
• Write down specifically what you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. For example, it is not enough to intend to lose weight. To say you desire to live a more healthy, active lifestyle is much more motivating.
• Dream big, but think tiny. Break your goals down into manageable parts.
• Share your goals with others. Tell your family, your best friend or post it on social media. Update your progress. We are more likely to keep working toward our goals when we know we are accountable.
• Use the buddy system. Find someone with the same goal you have and work together to accomplish it.
• Avoid temptation. Someone with a drinking problem should not go to a bar. Those cutting back on sugar should stay out of the ice cream parlor. Trying to save money, stop perusing ads or making unnecessary trips to your favorite store.
• Reward yourself often. Don’t let striving for your goal become drudgery. Your rewards, however, should be outside the planned goal, i.e. weight loss should not be rewarded with a piece of cake. Rewards do not have to be large. Extra time to finish a book can be a treat to a busy person.
• Forget perfection. Set your sights on finishing the race, not just how it is run. Remember, you are human and a failure today can be a step closer to your goal – each attempt represents a lesson learned. Take time to think about what did and didn’t work so you will do better tomorrow.
Something else to consider is the real reason you are setting life-changing goals. Is it because you want to look and feel like someone else, or have what he or she has? It is important to look inward and realize that this moment is all we have. This moment can be enjoyed the way it is right now, and if you enjoy this moment you will be able to enjoy each one after. Once you determine your goal-setting motives are good ones, go for it.
Unlike New Year’s resolutions, goals can be set any time of the year. The important thing to consider is keeping your eye on what you hope to accomplish and continuing to move in that direction. Wayne Gretzky of hockey fame once said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” This fits perfectly with the old adage, “If first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
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