Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Resolutions vs. Goals

Image from business2community.com

     As a tradition, most of us like to make New Year’s Resolutions. Unfortunately, most of us fail to follow through and by the time summer sets in (or maybe even Valentine’s), we’ve forgotten it altogether or have failed and given up. There’s always next year, we think to ourselves. Ha!
     I’ve been thinking about making some resolutions myself, but decided that it’s better to set goals instead.
     So what is a Resolution exactly? The dictionary defines it as:

·        A firm decision to do something
·        Firmness of mind or purpose
·        The process of resolving something such as a problem
·        A course of action determined or decided on
·        Firm determination

It really isn’t so bad, but oftentimes we become unsuccessful because our resolutions become unattainable or unrealistic, and are not specific enough. Goals on the other hand can either be short term or long term, and provide a better picture of what we want to achieve and how we can do it. Here are some dictionary definitions of Goals:
·        Something that somebody wants to achieve
·        The object of a person's ambition or effort
·        An aim or desired result
·     An observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed timeframe

Image from my.science.ubc.ca

      I feel that goals are more appropriate for me. It’s not just a general idea but is more detailed and gives me a better vision of what I want. It’s not just deciding on doing something in particular, but planning a course of action in order to attain it. The SMART mnemonic can be used as a guide to make setting goals more successful.

Image from studentsuccess.unc.edu

                                S - Specific (who, what, when, where, why, how?)
                                M – Measurable (how will u know when you're done?)
                                A – Attainable (is this realistic?)
                                R – Relevant (how does it fit into your life now?)
                                T – Time bound (when will you achieve your goal? Deadline?)
From www.crossfitcypress.com

     With this as my guide, I can make a more detailed plan on how I am going to achieve my goals and will most likely be able to accomplish them. Here are some examples of how we can differentiate Resolutions versus Goals (not all of the listed are my actual goals but I have a pretty similar list hehe).

R: I’m going to lose weight.
G: I want to lose 1 lb per week for the next 6 months by exercising regularly and eating well (see next two goals).
R: I’m going to exercise.
G: I will do cardio exercises like walking and biking at least 3x a week for 30 minutes in the morning.

R: I’m going to eat healthy this year.
G: I will cut down on sweets and eliminate processed foods from my diet, and increase my intake of fruits and vegetables. I will list down my daily food intake to be aware of what I eat each day and make the proper adjustments if needed.

R: Get organized.
G: Archive projects more than 3 years old and throw out files that I no longer need every 3 months. I will file documents properly by color coding and cleaning out folders. I will make To-Do Lists daily and schedule activities by writing them down in my calendar.

R: Save more money.
G: I want to save more money this year by requesting for a lower limit on my credit card to avoid unnecessary purchases and setting aside 10% of my earnings in another account as soon as I receive them. (Or you can just cancel that credit card altogether! ;P)

R: I am going to do natural birth for my baby.
G: I will research on natural birthing methods and enroll in a birthing class. I will prepare my body through exercise and eating the right foods. I will make a detailed birthing plan by my 7th month and make sure I am knowledgeable about the signs of labor and how to manage labor pains. 

R: I will breastfeed my baby.
G: I want to breastfeed my baby from birth to two years. I will read up on breastfeeding, attend breastfeeding classes and get tips and advice from my mom friends to prepare and to help me when I encounter difficulties. I will enlist the help of a lactation consultant when necessary. 

   Just a personal note: Lately my 15 month old has been accidentally biting me during breastfeeding if she suddenly falls asleep - super ouch! And I would have thoughts of quitting during those painful moments. However, I've already set a goal for breastfeeding her until she's 2, so I knew I just couldn't quit. Now there could be special cases for stopping breastfeeding, like a medical condition or pregnancy, but since I have neither of those cases, I know I have to continue on. And I plan to because I already have a set goal in mind. If I didn't, I might just give up easily and at anytime - so I believe setting goals beforehand really helps. 

    I am sure you can think of more ideas and plans to help you with your personal goals :) It really helps when we write our goals down so if you have a journal or planner, make sure to write it where you can see it (or post it on your wall!). And always review your goals so you don't forget about them. Most of all, stay positive all throughout. Don't quit if you fail in one of the steps that you listed (like if you ate the forbidden cupcake or didn't have time to exercise one morning!). Just pick yourself up and try again until your efforts to change finally turn into a habit.
    I think this post just helped me with my own list of goals. I know it's been a week since the new year set in, but that's the beauty of goals - they're good to make at any time of the year hehe! Hope this post helped you too ;)     

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Encarta Dictionary
The Free Dictionary

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