Set Goals Not Resolutions

A quarter of the year has passed.  I can’t believe it’s already April.  Have you given up on your New Year’s resolutions?  Do you remember what they were?  Why do we get so excited about making resolutions and then just a few months later (many times less than that) say, well maybe next year.

I read this interesting article by David DeSteno in the New York times discussing New Year’s resolutions.  He stated that “our tendency to be shortsighted — to value the pleasures of the present more than the satisfactions of the future — comes at a considerable cost.”

He referenced Walter Mischel’s famous marshmallow experiments, in which children who could resist the temptation to immediately eat one sweet would be rewarded with a second sweet about 15 minutes later. Professor Mischel found that those who could wait — those who had self-control — were also the ones who had better academic and professional success years later.

He concluded with, “since then, study after study has linked self-control to achievement in a wide range of areas, including personal finance, healthful eating and exercise, and job performance. Put simply, those who can persevere toward their long-term goals in the face of temptation to do otherwise — those who have “grit” — are best positioned for success.”

Personally, I don’t like resolutions.  I feel they place unnecessary pressure on us that turns into guilt.  I think we need to set short and long term attainable goals that steer us towards an end result that leads to living a better life.

Goals have a specific end and the results can be measured.  Resolutions are permanent changes.  A great example is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, losing weight.  If you are saying you are going to lose 20 lbs by summer, that is a goal.  A resolution would be, I need to lose weight, so I’m never going to drink soda again.

Goals, if realistic, are much easier to attain because we set a specific deadline and we know we can do something for a little time.  However, to say you are never going to do something ever again, starting immediately, when we slip, we feel like a failure.

To live your best life, you need to set goals, not make resolutions.  We all have dreams and want to live a certain way, maybe in a certain place.  This can all be achieved through setting goals.  If your dream is to stop living paycheck to paycheck or buy a vacation home, it all comes down to setting realistic goals.

Replace your New Year’s resolution of, I am going to save money, so I am not going to stop at Starbuck’s anymore and instead I will bring coffee from home.  Change that to, for the next 6 months, I’m only going to Starbuck’s once a week and the money I would normally spend there, I’m going to put into savings or towards paying down debt.

I know for me, as soon as I say, I am never going to do something, I want to do or have that exact thing.  So, cut yourself some slack, make attainable goals that point to a dream you have and start making it a reality.  Dream Big then Make it Happen!!

Please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!  I would love to hear from you!!


‘Til next time!


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