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3 Reasons Why You Should Turn Your “New Year’s Resolutions” into Goals Instead

3 Reasons Why You Should Turn Your “New Year’s Resolutions” into Goals Instead

Kent Yoshimura -

Along with a brand new year comes a promise of new beginnings and fresh starts. A new year is a literal beginning to something new; something that hopefully has the potential to make things better. Year after year, a lot of people has gotten into the habit of making “New Year’s Resolutions” - listing things they hope to achieve in the coming year. However, this habit, along with buying a planner that only gets filled out until March, although admirable and has the best intentions, isn’t always the best gameplan to work on something you really want to happen.

How many “this year I’m going to lose weight” or “this year I’m going to start being more productive” have you written in your planner only to find it collecting dust and being forgotten? These resolutions, as deeply desired and absolutely wanted as they may be, don’t have a strong enough voice in your life that it’s easy for them to be buried underneath all the clutter and noise. Life eventually and inevitably happens throughout the year, and before you know it, you’re at the end of yet another year with your resolutions buried at the end of your what-could-have-been pile.

Well, guess what? This time will be different because you will make it so! A resolution is defined as your decision to do or not do something, whereas a goal is defined as a desired result of something that you want to happen. How about instead of waiting for every New Year to work on a resolution, you decide to set yourself a goal instead? Here are 3 reasons why you should do so, and a few tips to help you get started:

Goals are S.M.A.R.Ter

You’ve probably heard this in every leadership session you’ve ever attended - create SMART goals. This is one big difference between a resolution and a goal; a resolution is more like a promise, something that you throw off into the universe and hope it sticks. If anything, it sounds more like a wish. Not to take anything away from your desire to see it come true, it just lacks a solid depth to follow through.

A goal, and a SMART one at that, on the other hand, has all the ingredients for success. Specific goals give you clarity; it gives you the desired action and how you are to get there using the resources (e.g. time, money, etc) that you have. It’s measurable and achievable because you will know exactly what you want and you will be well aware when you’ve reached it.

It’s relevant in such a way that it plays into your biggest desires in life - it makes you want something to happen that you’re willing to put in the work for it.

Goals promote longevity and continuous progress

Goals may be time bound but they are not confined to be set only during New Years. Also, the timeline within which you want to achieve a goal is not confined to just a given year. Frustration usually kicks in when you set yourself a resolution at the start of the year and you don’t achieve it towards the end. You fall into the vicious cycle of setting yourself up for failure and feeling frustrated about it in the end.

You can avoid all that by setting goals instead. Long term goals are aspirations that you see yourself achieving within the next 3 to 5, sometimes even 10 years depending on the preparation and effort needed. Short term goals are usually goals that you see yourself getting within several months up to a few years.

One common problem of most people is procrastination. It’s not something you obviously want to happen, it just does. Sometimes you know you want something to happen, but because your brain is so intimidated by it, it tends to do everything but the thing you need to do.

The good thing about setting a goal is it allows you to break it into smaller and more doable chunks of habit that you can form over time. These habits accumulate, and if you’re consistent enough, they contribute to the realization of your goal over time.

Goals are aligned with your lifestyle

Goals are not rigid and unyielding mantras that you tell yourself - It’s not “you-have-it-or-you-don’t”. Instead, goals give you the power to adjust and modify depending on your resources and other things that happen in your life. It gives premium to progress, rather than perfection. It gives emphasis on your journey and what it took you to get to where you are.

In some ways, you may even find that the end goal you have has changed for the better because you put so much value in the way you took to get there. It’s not bad either, it only means your mindset is strong enough and conditioned in such a way that you’re not defined by a single achievement, but rather of a collective experience that makes you a whole person.


Don’t wait for New Year’s to work on something. Sit yourself down and reflect on the things you really want to happen and break it down to smaller (and s.m.a.r.ter) goals that you can work on. Every new day is a chance to be better and do better. Whatever you do to get the energy and focus to work on a goal you’ve always wanted, or the calm and clarity to step back and assess your progress and your journey, your efforts will not be wasted because you’re working on your most incredible asset - you. Every investment you make on yourself and your goals is always a step in the right direction.

What are you waiting for? Get in that thinking chair and get to work!


Hero Image by Isaac Smith on Unsplash


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