Resolutions? Goals? Why not both?!

I have a confession to make. Now that I am (slightly) older and (slightly) wiser, I realize I may have made a mistake in my book Monday Motivation. In the introduction, I say:

“After you have read through it (the book) and have an idea of what this is all about, it’s time to set some goals. Not New Year’s Resolutions. Goals. Goals that you will actually really work towards. Goals that will bring real change and fulfillment to your life.”

That doesn’t sound too bad, right? Well, remember the part where I said I was (slightly) wiser now? See, I actually looked up the definition of goal and resolution on the handy dandy dictionary/thesaurus app I use. Here are the definitions given that best fit the situation here:


    Do you see the difference between these now? I used to kind of give resolutions a bad name. I think most people feel the same day. I mean, who actually sticks to their resolutions?


There’s a reason memes like these go around and so many people can relate. I get it. It’s the beginning of the year, and you’re full of hope and optimism. I feel the same way right now! After the rough year 2016 has been, it’s nice to think that there are better days ahead. But, you know, resolutions take work. You have to actually put some time and effort into a resolution. After a few weeks, motivation dies off and it’s back to old habits.

So, what does the definitions have to do with the next year? Well, BOTH resolutions and goals are important if you want to change your life. Think of it this way… resolutions are the broad, long-term thing you’re working towards. If you want to change your life to a healthier one, that’s your resolution. You might say something like, “My resolution this year is to get healthier.” Great. How do you get there?

That’s where the goals come in! Goals are the more specific things you do to achieve your resolutions. Think of your goals as stepping stones. If your resolution is to be healthier, then look at goals as things like running a 5K, losing 50 pounds, lower cholesterol, and so on. Goals have an end date. Once you’re done with a goal, you move on to the next one. Resolutions are more permanent. You don’t spend a year working your butt off to get healthier only to lose it the next year.

Take a moment to think about your resolutions and goals for the next year. Health and fitness goals always seem to be the easiest for me to think of. You can see your progress in tangible ways like weight going down, clothes getting looser, improved numbers in medical tests, etc. I think that’s one of the reasons achieving a fitness goal is so rewarding. But what other areas in your life can you improve? What steps are you going to take to achieve them?

Let’s take a look at a very basic, hypothetical scenario here. Pretend Mary decides her resolution for the year is to get healthier. Well, that’s a very broad statement. This is where many people fail to make any real plans, so they give up on their resolution. Not Mary. She’s ready to really make a lasting change in her life, so she plans out her goals for the year according to her resolution.


Like I said, this a very basic thing here. Mary will take the time to plan out her specifics. This is what you need to do. What do you need to do specifically to achieve your goals? How are you going to change your diet? What kinds of workouts are you going to do each week?

In Monday Motivation, I briefly go over the SMART Goal method. SMART is an acronym for setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. This is probably the most popular method, and when you learn more about it, it makes sense! I found a really great article on the site Mindtools that explains this method better than I ever could. I really encourage you to read through it!

Now, I understand, life happens. Now and then things pop up that totally change your goals or cancel them completely. A year is a long time and a lot can happen. Be flexible. When you need to change something do it. Just don’t let small things turn into big excuses.

The great thing about all this? These principles don’t just apply to fitness goals. You can use these for any goal you have? I have another book I would really love to finish writing in 2017. How will I do it? Well, still working out the specifics, but it will include things like writing for so many hours a day, or writing so many words a day. I have to write even when my characters aren’t talking to me. (Writers understand that part!)

So, now that you’ve given some thought to your resolutions and goals for 2017, it’s time to share! What are some of your resolutions and/or goals? One of my goals is to dead-lift 250 pounds. That’s going to take some hard work and dedication on my part, but you better believe when I get there, I’m going to celebrate!


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