Goals vs. Resolutions: What’s the Difference?

Melissa Brode - headshot 111

Melissa Brode

Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something. Goal: the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. Which sounds more appealing?

I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions, probably because it seems that most of the resolutions people tend to make are revolved around changing something about their exterior self that they are not happy with.

Now don’t get me wrong: I am all about self-care, self-advancement, and doing things to improve our overall health and well-being. But it has always been interesting to me how people vow to completely change their behaviors on the first day of a new year, as if some magic motivation switch flipped at 12:01am on January 1st.

The problem I have with resolutions is that expectations for these drastic changes are often set way too high. Many people tend to go about them with an “all-or-nothing” approach—and get discouraged when they don’t get the results they desire instantly.

So rather than setting up a list of “New Year’s Resolutions,” I like to think about “New Year’s Goals and Dreams.” I know, they sound similar, but in my experience, the mindset and approach to achieving them is different.

Goals should not be rigid.

Goals provide a direction to follow to achieve desired outcome.

Goals involve intention setting, planning, preparing, and taking REALISTIC action.

Here are my considerations when setting achievable goals:

  • Experience the outcome before you begin. Before I set a specific goal, I try to visualize and feel into the end result. What does my life look like WHILE I am working towards my goal? What does my life look like when the “goal” has been reached? How do I feel throughout the process?
  • How did I get there? What did I do, mentally and physically, to achieve my goal? Did reaching my goal require additional outside resources? (money, time, other people, etc.)
  • (Baby) Action Steps. Take one day at a time. Think about the little things that can be done each day to get you closer to your desired goal. Keep the steps as simple and practical as possible.
  • Remember, setbacks are inevitable. Do not beat yourself up if you take a step or two (or two hundred) back. We are all human, we are not perfect, and that is ok. If you do experience a setback, evaluate what happened. Think about where you might need some extra motivation. Do you need a support team/accountability buddy?
  • Keep going. Don’t set a rigid timeline for accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Trust that as long as you keep going with an open and honest mindset, you are making progress in the right direction.

When you are thinking about your goals, remember to always follow your heart and your dreams. No matter what life throws at you, anything is possible when you believe in yourself. I hope you find these tips to be helpful and wish you a beautiful start to 2018! 

Melissa Brode is a yoga teacher and marketing professional from metro Detroit. She’s a writer and photographer who loves helping others.