How to Start Your New Year: Resolutions vs. Goals

There is a difference. And a reason most people don’t make it to the finish line when it comes to resolutions.

Resolutions are defined as: a firm decision to do something or not to do something. It’s 100%. End of story. No ifs, ands or buts.

Goals are defined as: ambition, something you’re aiming for or a desired result.


The difference is this: Resolutions leave no room for mistakes. Goals are set up with the knowledge in mind that you will make mistakes. And then you’ll keep trying.

It’s a mindset.

One of the largest reasons people fail to reach their resolutions – is the small failures along the way.  You aren’t a robot, you cannot be perfect every moment of every day of every week of every month of every year.

It’s impossible.


Instead, this New Year’s Day, make a goal.

  1. Make your goal specific. For example – Don’t say, “I want to lose weight.” Say, “I want to lose ten pounds.”
  2. Make it measurable. As far as weight goes, this is tricky. Buy a scale. BUT don’t use it all the time. Use it once a week.
  3. Make sure it’s something you can actually achieve. Don’t set a goal to get a job, get a raise, become top dog, marry in the tropics, and make most successful person in your favorite magazine all in one year. Use your brain! You can do baby steps. How do I know this? Because you’re a human. That’s what we do.
  4. Make a plan. How are you going to achieve this? If you make a goal and then hope it pans out – it won’t. You need to know what you’re going to do. Make a plan to exercise so many days out of the week. Make time for it.
  5. Give yourself a time limit. It’s not to make you sweat bullets, it’s to help you measure your progress. It’s not a deadline, it’s a measuring stick for your life. Going with weight loss, if you want to lose ten pounds within the year, that’s your time limit. The year.
  6. Know that you will mess up. More than once. Mistakes will happen. Ignore it. Keep going, keep your motivation up. This is the whole point of a goal.


Changing your behavior is hard. Our brains like the same thing, over and over again. It’s comfortable. Its what we know, what we’re used to. Our brains like routine.

Your brain will fight you.

It’s a lot easier to make new, good habits than it is to get rid of bad, old habits.

Focus on moving forward.

Make your goals into habits and you won’t have to fight so hard. Your brain will recognize this new habit (your goal) as the new routine. This will take a while and you will make mistakes, but don’t give up.

And remember that goals aren’t punishments. You’re doing this because you want to. Figure out how to achieve your goal in a way which makes you happy. Have fun.

It really isn’t as complicated as it sounds.

The effort is worth becoming the person you want to be, regardless.


“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb


What goals have you made for this year?





Filed under The Odd Bit

4 responses to “How to Start Your New Year: Resolutions vs. Goals

  1. My goals for 2015 are to finish two novels, write at least two short stories, and read 40 books. But enough about me. I want to know about your goals.

    • I’ve never actually counted how many books I read a year.
      Two novels in one year? From the very beginning?!?!

      I’m trying something new with goals. I seem to suck at keeping up with them, so I’m trying to make goals for a certain amount of time and then “reward” myself with something small if I make it. That way I see two rewards. One, the short term one I can look forward to getting soon and two, the one at the end of the stubborn tunnel.
      Hoping this works. So far it has. 🙂

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