Real Life

New Year: Resolutions vs Goals

The New Year is here! (Or almost here!) Almost everyone sees the New Year as a clean slate… a time to start afresh… a time to start new things… a time to try to complete that which we didn’t the previous year…

New Year: Resolutions vs Goals

Resolutions

What is a resolution? According to Wikipedia,

New Year’s resolution is a secular tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as opening doors for people, beginning from New Year’s Day.

Many people jump onto the “Resolutions bandwagon” and make a list of everything they would like to accomplish in that year. And that is it: you get 365 days to complete it. I have asked around, and some of my friends feel like setting resolutions is a good thing because they feel the pressure to comply, to complete, to achieve. Sometimes, though, like with anything, when the pressure is too much, people just drop it all and forget about their resolutions by April. The key to keep in mind about resolutions is that they are temporary. They are supposed to be completed by the end of that year. Some people love that and others don’t.

Goals

What are goals? According to Dictionary.Reference.com,

A goal is the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.

Goals are more flexible. Goals can be short-term or long-term, or a mix of both. Several friends I talked to about this prefer to set goals over resolutions. Goals can be set at any time and they don’t need to have a specific end date (unless you want to) like resolutions where you HAVE TO complete it within that year.

So which is it for you?

Resolutions? Goals? Both? Neither?

In my experience, I did grow up with Resolutions. I had a new list of resolutions every year. On the 31st, I would sit down and write down things that I wanted to accomplish in the coming year. As the years went by, I realized that there were a few things that would help make my resolutions better. And I also realized that they were actually goals, disguised as resolutions.

Regardless on whether you do goals, resolutions, both, or neither, here are some good tips on how to set yourself up for success in this endeavor:

1. Keep your goals/resolutions list to 3-5 items only. Long lists will overwhelm you and discourage you when you don’t see reaching your goal getting closer. I used to go crazy writing lists of 10-20 items each year. It was hard to focus on one or two at a time when the list was so long.

2. Make sure that your goals/resolutions are realistic. Saying “I will lose 150 lbs this year” might be a necessary goal/resolution, but is is reasonable? A better way to set a resolution like that would be “I will lose 5-7 lbs per month.” See the difference? I remember writing resolutions like “I will read 30 books this year.” I know that it might not sound like a lot to many, but when you consider that I am a mom and I homeschool, maintain the household, do extracurriculars and so many other things, I am happy if I get to read 2 pages each night!

3. Goals/Resolutions must be specific. Writing something like “I will eat better” might not cut it. What does it mean to eat better? Be specific. For you, it may be different than for someone else, and that is the beautiful thing about goals/resolutions: they are custom-made. A better way to word it would be “I will stay away from sugary drinks” or “I will eat pasta once a week instead of 3-4 times a week.”

4. Make your goals/resolutions attainable. For new homeschooling moms, you might set a goal/resolution to homeschool a full day for an entire week once a month. But that may not be attainable for some time. Does that mean you failed? No! That means that you are working towards something greater. Keep your eye on the prize and be happy when you set your goal to “homeschool for 30 minutes per day this week” and then change that goal to 45 minutes then 60 and so on until you reach your bigger goal. Sometimes, baby steps are the best way to go.

5. Be flexible! I cannot stress this enough. One year, I got a guitar so I could play songs for my children. Since I had already learned to play the guitar and just needed to brush up, I figured it would take me a couple of nap times to get the ball rolling and be playing like before. Turns out, guitars are loud and I couldn’t play during nap time because it would wake the littles up. Then I couldn’t practice while they were around because we had 3-5 hands strumming instead of just one. I realized that my goal/resoultion wasn’t going to go like I had planned. Was that the end of the world? No! I simply realized that I needed to be flexible and creative. Suggestions still accepted (lol).

In conclusion, whatever you decide to do this year, I want you to take this information into account and give it some thought. Are you better at organizing your thoughts and having goals/resolutions or are you better at winging it and somehow it still works out? Share your thoughts! We would love to hear them out. 😉 Happy New Year!

About the author

Tanya

Tanya is a homeschooling mom to two children, a son and a daughter. She focuses on following their particular learning interests at their level and in building a strong Christian foundation in their hearts. To cater to their high giftedness, she uses an eclectic teaching approach, which complement each other and maximize the fun in learning. Tanya has a degree in elementary education, a minor in French and a Master's degree in school administration. She is happily married to her best friend and enjoys sharing her life and experiences in her blog to provide inspiration and bring new ideas.

2 Comments

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  • Thank you for writing this article! I’m a planner but am known to make far-reaching New Year’s goals that often lead to disappointment in myself when I fail. I am trying to set a more attainable goal this year like living a more healthy lifestyle that focuses on non-scale victories rather than pounds lost.

  • I think I’ve always been a goal person. My life goals are what drive me daily and so I just continue these into the new year. I like your discussion about realistic goals though. Thank you and Happy New Year!

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