Scrap Resolutions, Go With Goals!

Happy New Year!

Are you ready to change?If you’re like most people, you sat musing over a warm cup of…something… and made a list of things you’re resolved to change this year.

I’m challenging you this year to change your mindset a bit.

Scrap your resolutions!

“Why?” You ask….

Because, they don’t work.

“Why Not?!”

There are several reasons why most New Years Resolutions Fail.

Resolutions flow from a negative mindset. Something is wrong, or we are dissatisfied with something in our lives. I want to lose weight, quit smoking, not feel so stressed about money. You name it… we want to lose, quit, etc.

Resolutions often come from what others tell us “should be.” A friend, relative, the TV or magazine article shames us or convinces us what our lives or bodies should look be like or look like. How often to you make your resolutions based on someone else’s input?

Resolutions are non-specific. I want to lose weight… great, how much? I want to quit smoking….wonderful, why and when? I want to change jobs…fantastic to what, what will make you happy? What is it that this job isn’t giving you?

Resolutions are highly emotional. Once the emotional flare up is gone, so is your commitment to seeing it through. Then, once you slip, you surrender…

Resolutions, for the most part, are really strategies. Step back and take a look at the resolutions you have developed. Are they really action steps or destinations. If you are like most people, your resolution is an action. This can set you up for frustration. It seems like it’s never-ending. Why, because it is… it is non-specific (usually) and it doesn’t really address your key issue… Your “WHY?”

Try Setting Goals Instead

I’ve heard it said that resolutions are like goals and that we’ve been “goaled to death.” I disagree wholeheartedly. There are huge distinctions between real goals and resolutions.

Goals establish a positive vision for the future. It’s where I want to be or what I want my life to look at.

Goals are intensely personal. Except for performance goals at work, your goals are exactly that…yours! They are about you and for you. You control much of the outcome.

Goals are specific. You can only achieve a goal if you have spelled out what it will really look like. You don’t usually say I’m going on vacation and leave it alone, right? No, you tell people the name of your destination… I’m going to the beach for a week. Your goal is your destination. You know when you have arrived, and then you figure out what’s next.

Goals are written down. An unwritten goal is nothing more than a wish. Writing the goal down creates a sense of accountability for it. You see it and remind yourself about it.

So How Do I Set A Goal?

Start with a dream.

But, you just said that resolutions are highly emotional, and so are dreams.

Yes, but goals deal with what you want and what you need. So, ask yourself this…

What is it that I want to be able to do for myself, my life, my family that would move me or us forward?

Write it down. That is the answer to your “Why? Why am I going to do what I’m going to do” With out that, you have no direction and little hope of success in the long-term.

But, you’re not done yet… Now that you’ve “begun with the end in mind” as Steven Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People might say, you now need to figure out the route to arrive at the destination. You should also set a realistic timeline. Perhaps check in with someone in the know about a certain area you want to address.


Establish Objectives/Benchmarks

Whenever I go anywhere, I love to see landmarks along the way… signposts of my progress. These signs that I’ve come to know quite well help me along the way. As I near completion of my journey, my anticipation rises, knowing that my trip is heading toward success. The same is true about my goals, about your goals. To get these benchmarks, ask yourself this question.


How will I know I’m making progress?

Evidence of small successes along the way helps you put your foot on the gas pedal. It accelerates the process for you. And as you make progress, checking off the items on the list, you see yourself winning!

Pause and Get a Lay of the Land

What I mean here is that you need to review your progress carefully. There are two parts to this.

Celebrate your successes. I’m not good at that, generally. I’m my own worst critic. But as I pointed out above, seeing the good is very, very important. But then get going again. Some people will be happy to sit and stare at those successes. However, you will learn, while achieving your goals, that it is much more about the journey than the destination (ultimately).

Make needed course corrections. Be careful not to be “overly critical” of yourself. We all slip. We all miscalculate. Perhaps we didn’t account for all the resources we might need. Don’t quit. Figure out what you need, obtain it and move on. Maybe it’s taking you a little longer… perhaps it should. If not, ask yourself this question…

What is my role in this delay, pause, wrong turn, shortcoming? If you can honestly say, “Nothing.” Then let that issue go and press on. If you can name the issue that is under your control, then claim it… saying “Yes, this is on me.” Here’s the thing. If you can name it and claim it, you can tame it. So then ask yourself, “So what do I need to do to overcome this obstacle?”


No goal is ever achieved simply or easily. It comes with hard work. But it’s worth it. You’re worth it!

Establish a solid destination.

Chart your course.

Check your progress.

Win this year with solid goals that will move you and your family forward!

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