Saturday, January 9, 2010

The difference in a goal and a resolution


By now, many have relegated their New Year's Resolutions to the trash along with their Christmas wrapping paper and boxes. Some haven't completely trashed them, they just given it a try and when it didn't work figured they'd try again next year, so they packed their resolutions away with the ornaments and decorations. A few hardy individuals are hanging on for all they are worth, barely holding on but determined that this will be the year of success. Then there are those of us who have decided that resolutions are an exercise in futility and given up on making them all together.

This year, I did not make any resolutions...instead, I made a goal, and so far I'm seeing a big difference. That could be because of the difference in me, or it is more likely due to the difference in resolutions and goals.
I've read plenty of articles on making good resolutions, but somehow I still always fail to keep my resolutions. Envisioning success, writing them down, making them measurable...nothing seemed to help. Perhaps this is because resolutions tend to carry with them a "DO or DON'T" mindset. If I vow to do something and then don't, I've blown it. If I vow to NOT do something and then do it, I've blown it again. There are just too many opportunities to fail. Goals on the other hand are different.

With a goal, if I don't reach it, I don't stop. I just keep trying. I talked to my students about this. Many of them play soccer or basketball and I asked them, if they were playing and missed the goal, would they just give up? Of course, the answer is no...you try again....and again.....and again....and, well, you get the picture. Goals carry in them the idea that if you don't reach your goal the first time, you keep on trying. Resolutions carry the idea of either you do or don't; one slip up and it's over.

With a resolution, if you don't accomplish it, you've failed. With a goal, I can see myself getting closer and closer to the target, even when I fail. It's a process, a learning and retraining process. It's so much easier to see that I am making progress with a goal. I may still miss the mark by a mile, but at least I'm closer than I was when I started...even if it's only by the tiniest fraction of an inch! The fact that I am even looking at the goal is progress, because it means I have a target to work toward. You've heard it said, those who aim at nothing hit it every time. I'm tired of hitting nothing.

This year, I have a couple of goals. I've put a calendar up to help me see how I'm doing toward reaching those goals. I've also made myself accountable in other ways....but the point is, even on days I do very little, I'm still doing SOMETHING toward getting closer to the mark.

Even if you haven't made a goal for this year, the year is young and there is plenty of year left! Make a goal. Think about it...the decisions you make today can make a difference in the year, the decade...even in your life! If somehow you wind up reading this article with very little year left - I still encourage you to make a goal. Make use of the time you have and get closer to the goal than you were before you started. There is no time like the present.

The difference in a resolution and a goal - it's never too late to work on getting closer to our goals. Join with me and we'll  make a difference in our tomorrows. I like the way Paul, the author of Philippians put it:
Philippians 3: 12-16 (Message translation)
"I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.

So let's keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you'll see it yet! Now that we're on the right track, let's stay on it."

3 comments:

Elle said...

Thanks for the encourgement. With your insight into goals, I have set one! I loved when you said, "goals are something you work towards, you don't give up." I will not give up! Thanks for sharing.

Karen said...

Wow Ms. Donna. I just had a few minutes to read this today and I'm glad I did. As you know my goal is to run a marathon this year and I hope that as I'm running those long runs on the weekend that I keep your words in my mind.

Robbie said...

Very good!! I totally agree with you, Donna! Though I don't make resolutions, for the first time, I've made some goals (before I read your article). The second part of having a goal is to make sure that it can be measured along the way (in other words, there are steps to reach the end) and then that they are achievable OR you're basically making resolutions. Thanks for your insight. I've written something on goals this year as well. If you are interested in reading them, go here: http://run4it-headricks.blogspot.com/2010/01/2010-fitness-goals-100-day-challenge.html