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The top 10 differences between goals and resolutions

If you set a New Year’s Resolution this year, you have a 1 in 2 chance of forgetting all about it by March. Instead of some trite and unattainable promise to your future self, set actual goals and create strategies to get there through SMART goal planning.

Here are 10 things about goals that set them apart from resolutions.

  1. Goals are written down. Sometimes, people write down resolutions, and that’s admirable. But they’re not resolutions anymore. Once you write down something you WILL do, it becomes a goal. So write it down. Then start planning how you’ll get there.

  2. They’re personal and not driven by society or your peers. Resolutions can be influenced by our social circles. Sometimes that’s great, but what are you more likely to do: something someone else thinks you should do, or something you really want to do? Exactly. Goals aren’t groupthink. They’re personal.

  3. Attainable goals speak to your bigger “why.” Because goals are a microcosm of our own personal desire, they lead us to becoming the people we want to be. Maybe you want to increase your squat by 15 percent this year. Why? Because then you’ll be stronger, faster, and healthier. Every goal gets us closer to self-actualization.

  4. Small goals usually build into a larger goal. It wouldn’t be smart to run a 5K today if you haven’t run a mile in a decade (or more). Big goals need intermediary goals to help us stay motivated and successful each step of the way. Instead of a big, ephemeral resolution this year, set a small goal. Set up a personal training session to talk with a fitness pro about what a smart goal might look like for you. Just set getting started as your first goal.

  5. Goals can be project-managed. This is repetitive, but bear with me: every big goal can be broken down into smaller SMART goals that build up to the big one. That’s called project management, and it takes a wimpy resolution and makes it a goal, and then turns that goal into an actual project with deadlines. It isn’t a dream if you have a plan that makes it a reality.

  6. They require daily intention. You need rest days, but your goals don’t. Resolutions are so hard to grasp that you can forget all about them within a few days – there’s nothing for you to do every day to keep them top-of-mind. Goals are different and require you to feed them. To see progress, you work the plan until you hit that first milestone, then you keep going. Every day.

  7. The way we talk about goals is different. Nobody cares about resolutions, but when you start talking goals and project deadlines, you can feel the difference. Talk about your goals like you’re going to crush them, and you will. You’re building your growth mindset by using action words and creating actual resolve to succeed instead of wishes that evaporate with the spring.

  8. They can be shared with others for accountability and motivation. Set goals, write them down, create a plan, and tell the others. Your trainer, workout buddy, or friends might want to join you because you’re so committed to the goals you’ve set for yourself. Be someone’s motivation and accountability, and ask them to do the same for you.

  9. Goals are just the next step in self-improvement. Growth mindset is essential when striving to reach a personal goal. There’s always a “next” goal to reach for, so crush one and then look for your next one to keep improving.

  10. Meeting goals is much more satisfying than some “resolution.” You can resolve to meet your goals this year, if you feel like you need a resolution. Then set those goals, create a plan, and pat yourself on the back next year for keeping your 2022 New Year’s Resolution.

Problem solved. Now put pen to paper and map out your 2022 goals. Be smart, intentional, and accountable, and you’ll make daily progress that will help you meet them.



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