Re-Imagining New Year’s Resolutions
If you’re anything like me, you LOVE fresh starts. And, while I’m a firm believer that we should take action and make positive changes regardless of what the calendar says, I also love the feeling of a brand new year.
Now, we all know what new years resolutions are — when you say “this will be the year I finally…” and then (altogether far too often) proceed to let yet another year pass by withoutdoing that thing that you so want to do.
And it’s for this very reason that the trend of intentionally NOT making new years resolutions has become so prevalent in recent years.
I think, though, that it’s important to be careful to not throw the good out with the bad. Because while failed resolutions feel yucky and don’t help us become the people we want to be, we’d all agree that being resolute to improve ourselves in specific ways and reach our goals is a positive thing.
With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at the difference between resolutions, goals, and plans. Because even if one of these isn’t for one, another may well be.
The definition is pretty clear! A resolution is “a firm decision to do or not do something.” Typically, on new years these play out in the form of:
- “I will never eat another carb.”
- “I will wake up at 4am every day.”
- “I won’t ever yell at my kids again.”
- “I will journal every day.”
With resolutions, there’s no talk of how you’re going to do the thing you want to do, and nothing to help you break out of your old (firmly ingrained) habits. Are resolutions bad? Not at all! But they can be a bit… lacking.
Surprise! Plans and resolutions are not the same thing!
If a resolution is your personal commitment to doing (or NOT doing) something, a plan is the how-to.
Does that mean plans are better than resolutions? Again, no. Detailed “how-to” plans won’t get anything done if you don’t also have commitment.
Plans are good (even necessary), but not better (or worse) than resolutions. Just different!
Clearly, here we’re talking about the 2nd definition. But, I actually think the 1st definition is quite illustrative! A goal is the target we are aiming at. It’s where we are hoping our plans land us.
Are goals better than plans or resolutions? Again, no — just different!
At this point, you might be thinking, “Well, this is interesting, but… what should I actually DO with this information? Do I have to make resolutions, and goals, and plans? That sounds like a lot!”
Well, I actually WOULD recommend that you use all three, but I understand that could feel overwhelming. And that’s definitely NOT what we want, because we rarely do things that feel overwhelming.
So, let me give you a simple example of how these systems could work together to help you accomplish whatever you’re interested in accomplishing:
1) Goal: Run a 5K this September.
2) Plan: I will train for one hour every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning.
3) Resolution: I am resolved to stick with my training schedule until September, at which time I will run a 5k.
If you want to use this little system for yourself, you can follow these steps:
1) Define a goal. What do you want to achieve? (Extra credit if you also give yourself a deadline.)
2) Create a simple plan. What do you need to do in order to reach your goal?
3) Resolve to stick to your plan until you reach your goal.
Finally, a pro tip: don’t set too many goals. In fact, for best results, just work on 1 – 3 at a time.
What do you think of this system? Will you give it a try? If so, leave a comment below and let me know: What is your BIGGEST goal for 2019?
Here’s to your success!