Resolutions or Goals?

The sounds of fireworks and celebrations are fading, and I am getting ready to close out the night and the year that was 2013, and I hear one of my children starting to talk about New Year’s Resolutions. His resolutions revolve around spending more time playing video games, which annoys my wife just a little bit.

I find it interesting that, even at the tender ages of nine and twelve, my youngest children have already begun the time honored tradition of setting resolutions for the new year. I wonder, though, if they really understand what this tradition is all about.

I’m not going to make this post about the history of New Year’s Resolutions; that is for minds far more ambitious than mine. But I do think that it is worthwhile to take a few minutes to talk about how to wisely set resolutions, and how to set the stage for keeping them beyond the 21st of January.

it might be a good idea to draw a distinction between resolutions and goals. Goals are specific, they are measurable and timed, and it is easy to tell whether or not one has reached them. Resolutions, however, are different. Resolutions, when made wisely, are more about the way we live. Rather than setting the goal to weigh a particular poundage, we often set resolutions to exercise more or eat more sensibly. Sometimes well meaning people encourage us to eschew these weak sounding resolutions for their more recognizable cousin, the goal. Personally, I think they both serve a purpose, and I am fond of setting resolutions as a means of attaining my goals. Let me give an example.

I have a goal this year of bringing my A1c, a blood sugar measurement key in treating diabetes, down to a level below 7%. This is a specific, measurable, timed goal. But one of the resolutions that I am setting that will help me realize this goal is eating breakfast at home every day. The resolution may not be specific, but it does set the stage for realizing the goal.

This entire discussion begs for a more expanded treatment, but I am tired and have resolved to be both more productive and to be more aggressive about getting enough sleep in the new year. With that said, I will promise to provide the full treatment later, wish you all a happy new year, and get some off that highly prized sleep.

Be magnificent in 2014!


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