Resolutions are mean. Goals are your friends.

IMG_3858I’m not much of a resolution-maker but I am a goal-setter. The two may be interchangeable for some, but in my book there’s a big difference between them.

A resolution is more weighty to me. There’s no gray area with a resolution, it’s stern and strict. You either succeed or you don’t. If I resolve to do something then I’d better do it or else it sounds like I’m potentially going suffer some serious consequences. If I don’t meet the expectations I resolve to meet, I’ll beat myself up about it until I feel like a  huge failure. This self-inflicted torment may go on for days, weeks, months, or, who knows, it may even eat away at me forever. Resolutions are mean. They’re no good.

calvin-hobbes-new-years-resolutions-572x433

Goals, on the other hand, are much more likeable. They’re more easy-going, they want you to reach them, and they won’t make you feel less than if you try but just can’t get there in the timeframe you initially planned. I can set a goal and even if I don’t reach the goal I set by the date I expect, I can examine the progress I’ve made and at least celebrate how far I’ve come if I’ve truly worked towards achieving it. I can look at where I went wrong, reevaluate my plan and make adjustments so that I will be able to meet the goal in the future. Goals are your fun-loving friends.

I set a few goals last year. I didn’t meet them all, but the sense of personal pride and accomplishment I got from reaching a few of them far outweighed any feeling of disappointment from not reaching each one of them. Even though I didn’t cross them all off my list, I’m happy knowing I am at least a little closer than I was last year at this time. I feel a deep sense of satisfaction and gratitude that will carry me forward to my next accomplishment. I’ll set some new goals and keep working on the couple I already had going, and I’ll continue to celebrate the little victories along the way. For it’s those little victories, the baby steps that sometimes seem insignificant, that make achieving the big goal possible.

One fun-loving goal I have for this year (that was also a goal for last year) is to meditate every day. I didn’t manage to do it every day, but I did read a meditation each day last year. Some days I was able to sit in silence after reading it and experience the amazing effects of meditation, while other days I read it just before yelling at the kids to get their shoes on so we could rush out the door. I tried to keep it in my mind throughout the days when I couldn’t dedicate the time to meditate. Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes I didn’t, but every day I tried again.

Here’s a snippet of the one delivered to my inbox yesterday. I found it really beautiful and simple. If you are looking to make a change or set a goal for 2014, this is the best one you can make:

“In this New Year, there are many things that I would like to “fix.”  But if I spend time focusing on things that I do well and get even better at them, what kind of potential might I create for myself?  What kinds of heights might I scale?  What kinds of things might I do, and how might I be able to help others even more by strengthening my gifts, the things that make me uniquely me?

For this New Year, I want to focus on developing my gifts and strengths, and as I do so, I know that I’ll watch my flaws and shortcomings fade into nothingness.”

Best wishes for a year filled with abundant personal growth. Go get ’em!

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One thought on “Resolutions are mean. Goals are your friends.

  1. Pingback: A new lease on Lent | justmommatters

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