Difference Between New Year’s Resolutions and Goals

December 2021 and January 2022 continue to get closer and closer with each day. Soon many will be focused on resolutions related wellness, finance, and happiness. But sometimes people prefer to refer to them as goals. That raises the question of whether there’s difference between the two. Goals vs Resolutions – what’s the difference? Resolutions and goals are not that much different from each other. Here’s a definition given for each word. Resolution – A firm decision to do or not to do something Goal – The end toward which effort is directed. Both words are essentially about expressing an intent to achieve something. The difference is that resolutions tend to be more general, whereas goals tend to be more specific. Additionally, resolutions are more about what you want to start, and goals are about how you want to finish. Examples of resolutions and goals To make the point clearer, I’ll provide examples for both concepts. First, here are some examples of resolutions.

·        I will lose weight

·        I will spend more time with family

·        I will get out the house more

As you can see, these general desires of things someone might want to start doing more. Now let’s do examples of goals.

        I will lose 20 pounds this year.

        I will visit my family twice a month.

        I will get out the house every other weekend.

Notice that these statements are specific compared to the previous statements. But is doing one better than the other? Goals and resolutions are both useful Many will argue goals are better than resolutions, but perhaps that’s a flawed conclusion. One of the main criticisms of resolutions is the failure rate. Research has shown that about 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail. Based on that number, it would seem clear we should all make more goals. But did you know that 70% of people who set goals fail to achieve them. Resolutions aren’t the problem and goals aren’t the solution. It’s good to decide you want to make a change in the new year, no matter how vague it is. But the problem isn’t not being specific enough in what you want to achieve. As you’ve seen with the data, even a majority of people who are specific about their plans fail. The problem is a lack of commitment. Fortunately, whether you’re setting goals or resolutions, there are ways to be effective at keeping them.

Here are a few tips that can help you.

1. Set an approach-oriented resolution An approach-oriented resolution involves deciding to add a new habit to your lifestyle. Research found those who desired to add a new habit in the new year were more successful than those who wanted to quit one. If there’s something you do in fact want to quit, perhaps you could re-frame that goal. Instead of deciding for the new year, “I’m going to stop eating junk food,” re-frame that goal as, “I’m going to eat more good food.”

2. Focus on the small steps A study found that in the beginning of your goal, focusing on succeeding at small steps can help keep you motivated. But as you get closer to achieving your goal, focus more on the bigger thing that you’re ultimately trying to achieve.

3. Make your goals vague Believe it or not, there’s research that suggests making your goals vague is actually better than making them specific. A paper in the journal of Psychological science concluded people were more likely to maintain motivation and accomplish their goals when they made them vague.

4. Compare your progress with others If someone is pursuing the same goal as you, it’s a good idea to check on their progress. A study found that people who learned about the progress another person was making felt more motivated to keep moving in their goal. While you might feel knowing others are outperforming you will be discouraging, the opposite is the case. People in the study felt more encouraged to catch up with the person ahead of them. And when people found out others were behind them, they were also motivated to push harder to maintain their lead..”

Final thoughts Whether you set a resolution or a goal this new year, the most important thing is maintaining your commitment. Utilize the tools in this article to help you stay motivated. Do your own research to find other ways to stick to your new habits. I hope the best for everyone making changes in the coming year.