It’s the word itself, resolution, that ultimately turns us off. As marketing copy it sounds good, but in reality it is not a word we relate to or process well. Resolution implies changing from a negative state to a positive one, which leaves us feeling badly about ourselves and accepting that we must change. This sets the bar too high. It is also aspirational―I want to be this amazing person―rather than goal-oriented.
Goals, on the other hand, is a word we can get our heads around. We have always understood goals, well before we were adults, and use the word regularly in our everyday lives. A goal puts the emphasis on achieving something, likely something new we set out to do, adding a positive ingredient, and this is a much more valuable approach. According to Psychology Today, we should reinforce our goals with the right motivations: Why are they important to you? And how will achieving these goals impact your life? If we understand why we are taking on new goals in our life, we will be more motivated to achieving them. The key with goals is to keep them simple and build on them.
Here are some common New Year’s resolutions that become much more achievable if we simply think of them as goals:
This is overwhelming. How much weight, and what if we don’t lose it? Statistically, weight-loss efforts do not work long-term, which is why the goal should be to adopt better healthy eating habits, such as eating more lean proteins and vegetables, and to find some healthier alternatives to our unhealthy go-to’s. Other goals here could be to simply eat fewer calories in the day and/or add 20 minutes of exercise each day. By changing your eating and activity patterns, focusing on wellness and not pounds, the emphasis becomes less about transforming your body overnight and more about learning how to create healthy eating and living habits that you can sustain.
Be A Better Person
Another common resolution is to “be a better person.” This is a wide, unwieldy bar to set. Instead, the goal here could be to doing random acts of kindness, expressing gratitude each day, carving out time to do more with people who matter most in your life, and creating more time for just you. Play time for yourself is critical to your well-being and happiness―don’t worry that setting out to better yourself is selfish. On the contrary, being good to ourselves is an act of kindness in and of itself.
Make More Money
The resolution to make more money is vast. If your money worries center around three common denominators―living beyond your means, not making enough in your current job, and having too much debt―set goals that will help you manage your budget right now. Good financial goals include saving a certain percentage of your income each month, or even weekly if you are a contractor, reducing your monthly spending, and working toward a pay raise or increasing your fees. Start by picking one segment, and working through that first.
This is a much-needed goal for many people, but like the predecessors here, it’s too big. Start with a list of all of the areas of your life that need organizing. Then within that list, create a list of the smaller parts of each. Organizing the house, for example, might include closets, bedrooms, and the basement. Do just one and give yourself time, factoring in life distractions that you know will interrupt your momentum.
Start A New Business
Entrepreneurial endeavors are positive additions to our lives. Starting a new business includes a world of necessary steps, from the legal foundation to how you will actually sell your services or products. Start with simple goals like coming up with the concept for the business and writing a business plan. Search Google, and you will find many business plan templates. Just select one and take this in small steps. From here you will naturally understand the next steps you will want to take, such as the company name, branding (fonts, logos, messaging), and what your customer profile looks like.
For many of us, our list might feature all of these goals, which is too much to tackle at once. If you are that person, give yourself permission to do this correctly: select one goal to begin with. Isolate the elements you need to get this goal off the ground, and take it in small steps to achieve success.
(all images credit: iStock)