New Year’s Resolutions vs Goals: Understanding the Difference
The start of a new year is often associated with setting New Year’s Resolutions. However, the truth is that these resolutions often fail within the first few weeks of the year. In a recent business lunch, I spoke to an audience about the reasons why New Year’s Resolutions fail and how to overcome these roadblocks to success. During this discussion, I asked the audience how many of them set New Year’s Resolutions. Only one person raised their hand. I then asked how many people set goals. The response was almost unanimous – everyone set goals.
This got me thinking about how resolutions and goals are often viewed as the same thing. While there may be some similarities between the two, they are actually very different and should be treated as such. The majority of people who set New Year’s Resolutions tend to set goals that involve the adoption of a new habit. These goals often include things like exercising more, eating less, quitting smoking, eating healthier, or learning a new skill or language.
In order to stick to these resolutions and achieve our goals, it’s essential that we understand the difference between goals and resolutions, and how to establish new habits that will help us succeed in the long run.
What New Habits Do We Need to Form for Our Resolutions to Succeed?
Making a New Year’s Resolution last throughout the year requires establishing a new habit that will help us achieve our goal. By understanding what is required to achieve this goal, we are more likely to succeed in the long run. Here are some tips to help you create the new habits that will help you stick to your New Year’s Resolutions this year:
Be Clear About Your Goals
The first step is to be clear about what you want to achieve. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, the habit you need to adopt may be regular exercise. Similarly, if your goal is to write a book, the habit you need to form is writing.
Take It One Step at a Time
Many people fail with New Year’s Resolutions because they try to do too much too soon. To gain from the power of single focus, try one new habit at a time. Making a change little by little can help make the task seem less overwhelming. Doing ten minutes of yoga a day is better than doing an hour a week. Small but regular is better than big and irregular.
Start with small but manageable changes. For example, if you want to run a 10K, start by running a few miles and build up gradually. If the task doesn’t seem so overwhelming, you are more likely to keep it up.
Use a Trigger
If you are creating a new habit, do it at the same time every day. For instance, if you want to start running in the morning, create a morning routine so that you do the same thing every morning. Our brains function better with routine, so establishing a routine will make it easier for you to stick to your new habit.
Find an Accountability Buddy
Research has shown that the percentage of successful resolutions increases hugely when you are accountable to someone. When we have to do something for someone else, we are more likely to follow through.
Failure is a part of life. Very few people are successful 100% of the time. Accept that, forgive yourself and move on.
When your motivation fades, remind yourself why you want to create the new habit. What is the end goal? How will your life be different if you achieve what you set out to achieve? Reconnecting with your “why” will help motivate you to keep going.
In conclusion, while New Year’s Resolutions may be the same as setting goals, establishing new habits is vital in sticking to these resolutions and achieving them. By understanding the difference between resolutions and goals, and employing the tips discussed above, you can transform your resolutions into lasting habits, leading to a more fulfilled life.