It’s that time of year. The ending of 2014 and the beginning of 2015. The time for endless review lists of what happened in 2014 and the making of new lists for 2015. The one action that seems constant is everyone’s commitment or at least attempt at making resolutions. I call them “ridiculous” resolutions when they have been made with little to no thought about how or why they should be accomplished. Essentially, making resolutions just to say you made resolutions. So this year, I am taking on my own challenge and encouraging others to do the same. Let’s do away with making ridiculous resolutions and set some realistic goals.
By definition a resolution does not include an action. Resolution means “something that is resolved” or “firmness of resolve.” So you are determined to do [fill in the blank], but how will it be achieved and why is it important to you? The word resolution does not support the accomplishment of the resolve.
By contrast, a goal is “the end toward which effort is directed” or “something that you are trying to do or achieve.” Included within these definitions are the how—or the effort which is the action and the why—which is what you are trying to achieve. Without a plan of action that includes an understanding of the how and why, a goal is, well, just a resolution.
Starting now, we will no longer feel bad for making empty statements disguised as resolutions that lack actionable effort or beneficial reasons to support the action. Beginning in 2015, let’s focus on the three important characteristics of goal setting. They should…
- Be Motivational. It’s important to set goals that motivate you. Sometimes you may think “I’m not good enough” so I am setting a goal to improve. That thought can be pretty deflating. Setting goals is not an acknowledgment that you are not good enough. Instead, setting goals mean you are striving to improve both personally and professionally. Everyone has room to learn more, grow more, and understand more. So choose a goal that personally motivates you to move in the direction you want to go. Remember, goals that are not actionable or have a purpose are really just resolutions.
- Be Actionable. When setting goals, it’s important to write them down. Writing down goals prompts you to process how the goal(s) will be accomplished and why it is important enough for the goal to be worth achieving. A goal must be attainable through a deliberate series of actions that can produce tangible and measurable results.
- Be Reasonable. For many the ending of one year and the beginning of another forms a “clean slate” ideology in our heads. It’s a chance to start over and people love the opportunity to start over. We enter into the New Year with bright eyes and hopes of renewal. Then approximately 2-3 months into the New Year, life catches up to our wide-eyed wonder and we slowly begin to lose our commitment. It’s important to keep going. Make the actions associated with each goal a habit. Set aside a specific time, whether it’s every day or once a week, to work on your goals. The biggest mistake we can make is setting goals that are unreasonable. Then when they are not achieved, we inevitably feel bad.
So this year, as we look ahead with optimism and a vision to change the world around us, let’s set some realistic goals together. Whether it’s short-term goals or long-term goals, brush off the stigma of past resolutions and sit down, pen in hand, paper within reach and turn a dream into a goal.
“A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.” ~ Harvey MacKay
EduCred Services wishes you a Happy, Goal-Achieving, New Year!
What goals do you want to achieve in 2015?