An examination of the difference between setting goals and making resolutions. Which inspires you to push ahead?
I’m the type that enjoys making resolutions. However, resolutions seem to be infected by a kind of “black or white” syndrome. You make a resolution, and if it doesn’t work, oh well.
Goals on the other hand take on some very powerful features. Whenever I think of goals my mind conjures up this image of goal master Zig Ziglar, fist clenched in determination, his body crouched forward like a lion poised to strike, his eyes laser-like and piercing.
Planning my goals with that vision sure revs me up. There are also some very logical, non-emotional reasons for goals.
- Goals are not black and white. Resolutions, on the other hand, take on the huge task of making a change in one bold move. With goals you are not forced into a “do or die” situation. Goals are never static or polar. They can be graduated to reach the heights, like a staircase. One step at a time. Goals create a process of illumination as you climb higher.
“No single event can awaken within us a stranger totally
unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born.”
– Antoine De Saint-Exupery
- Goals have determination and staying power. Goals can take it on the chin, and keep coming back for more. It’s simply a matter of modifying your goals in the face of temporary failure. Instead of taking one giant leap, you can break up a goal into 2 or 3 manageable steps.
“Many strokes overthrow the tallest oaks.”
– John Lyly
- Resolutions are more of a verbal, or mental affirmation, while goals beg to have an audience. Meaning, goals are to be written down; having clearly defined parameters for success. They can be referred to often, just to make sure you’re on the right path.
- Once you achieve a goal you can pat yourself on the back, stand a little taller, and move on to the next goal. Nothing fires you up more than success. A whole bunch of little accomplishments sets the stage for the grand finale.
“Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not totally down on the idea of making resolutions.
Resolutions are lofty in nature and exemplify our quest to be the best human being we can be. They encourage us to change our lives and experience the real person inside of us.
A resolution is more apt to call on the spirit. Deeds of virtuousness are called upon to show themselves, and there is a beckoning for the higher self to step from the shadows.
If only in that moment of resolve we could capture the emotion and force that brought it from the recesses of our mind, and take that moment into the next moment, and into the next moment…
Alas, the grandeur of resolution does wane with time.
But there is hope! Take that inspired resolution and turn into a series of goals! Thereby you can at least capture the hurrah of your inspiration and turn it into action.
Consider the time-honored tradition of setting New Year’s resolutions. They fit quite well on any standard 12 month calendar. A fresh start on the 1st day of the year.
Why not break up those resolutions into a series of goals and fill in the rest of the calendar with goal markers? It’s a perfect marriage. Let’s resolve to make that the goal for next January 1st. Or better yet, grab your calendar and start now!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brett Krkosska provides how-to advice on small business and home-based work issues. He is the founder of HomeBizTools and the publisher of Straight Talk, a syndicated column that offers a unique perspective on today’s business issues.