This time of year just about everyone is making resolutions or setting goals. It got me to thinking about the difference between the two.
According to Dictionary.com, a goal is “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.” A company may set goals to increase sales by 10% in the first quarter and set up a plan or strategy to achieve those goals. Goals have specific end dates in mind to accomplish or reach them.
A resolution on the other hand is “the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.” Using a similar example, a company may resolve to reach out to its customers more. Without spelling out how it will be accomplished, it’s not likely to be effective. Resolutions are usually more open-ended and therefore easier to break.
Common resolutions people make are losing weight, exercising more or eating healthier. We start out with good intentions, but after a few weeks, it’s easy to fall off the resolution wagon. When we miss a week of exercising or binge on sweets we can feel discouraged and give up all together.
If we change those resolutions into goals, I think most of us would do better. Instead of resolving to exercise more to lose weight, how about setting a goal to lose 10 pounds in the first quarter of the year? Create a plan to achieve that goal such as walking three-four times a week, and reducing the amount of junk food eaten each week (e.g. only sweets on the weekend). If you missed walking a couple days in a week, no problem, there’s always next week. And your goal of losing 10 pounds is still obtainable.
One of my business goals is to write more often. I’ve set specific goals by listing them on a calendar so I can see them daily. I’ve included topics and deadlines which will hopefully help me reach my goal.
Writing goals down is crucial if you want to achieve them. I’ve come to realize it’s not really a goal unless you do put it down in writing. If it’s just stuck in your head, all you have is an idea and you’re not likely to follow through on it.
What are some of your goals for 2012? How did you do in 2011?