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Why I Set Goals Not Resolutions

December 29, 2017

I don't like when people hate on the decision of others to try to better themselves at the start of a new year.




Seriously, I'm like the New Year's version of Will Ferrell in Elf.


The type-A, Post-it-loving, list-checker-offer in me is just overwhelmed with joy at the opportunity a new year presents.


But I don't make resolutions.


Why not?


Typically, resolutions tend to be too broad, too unforgiving, or too daunting for anyone to achieve a 100% success rate with them.


For example, the all-time classic of "I resolve to lose weight."


What is the problem with this resolution? Pretty much all of the above: vague, broad, unforgiving, and daunting. 


How much weight? How are you going to do it? Did you "fail" when you gained weight instead? Did you succeed when you initially lost weight but then before the year was over you gained it back plus some? Do you even need to lose actual "weight" or are you actually hoping for fat loss but feel that "losing weight" is a pretty standard thing most people need to do?


See, it gets pretty confusing, right?!


So set some GOALS instead!


Each year since I basically could drive myself, I drive to a chapel- preferably one with Adoration going on- and I sit quietly with God and set my goals for the year.


My husband has now joined me on this tradition and we're gearing up to goal-set for our third year together.


What makes goal-setting different from making resolutions?


First of all, we have several categories for our goals: 1.) spiritual, 2.) physical, 3.) financial, 4.) personal


I personally keep it to around 3 goals/category so I can zone in more deeply on them.


Secondly, I follow the SMART framework when setting my goals to make sure they are: 

  • specific

  • measurable

  • achievable

  • realistic

  • timely

There are a few variations on the SMART format but this is what I use. Some examples of past goals from each category include: attending Mass at least twice a week, running a marathon, paying off my car, and calling one of my long-distance friends each week.


Thirdly, I post my goals in a place that I will see every day to be constantly reminded of them.


Lastly, I monitor my progress on these goals throughout the year- checking them off when I achieve them and assessing what I might need to tweak in my actions to conquer the ones I am lagging on.


Now that my husband and I both do this, we create our goal lists separately but then come together and discuss them, sometimes adding joint goals such as visiting our grandparents at least twice a month or going to Confession monthly.


It's definitely key to be tuned in to what each other's goals are so we can offer the necessary support that the other might need in achieving them. 

For example, if I think a prudent goal for me is to run a marathon in 2018, it means Ben will have to plan to play with Josh Saturday afternoons while I get in a long run OR if Ben sets the goal of helping with Kyros prison ministry, I need to be willing to hold down the fort the weekends he is needed to serve.


I will share my 2018 goals with you when I finalize them! 


I hope this was helpful and I'd love for you to share some of your 2018 goals with me as well.


If the idea of the fresh start of a new year excites you, don't fight that feeling just because it might be "cliché"; instead, set yourself up for success by choosing a few very specific, very concrete goals that you feel will truly help you enjoy life to the fullest while striving for and attaining them!

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