Why You Should Set a Goal, Not a Resolution

  • Resolution [rez-uhloo-shuh n]:
    a firm decision to do or not to do something
  • Goal [gohl]:
    the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

Two very similar but distinct words. It can easily be argued that the two words are the same and many people make the resolution to get to the goal. However, I’m here to tell you that the new years resolution is the waste of your time.

Let’s look at the definition of a resolution again, a FIRM decision to do or not to do something. Although I’m am all for putting your foot down and making things happen ASAP very often that is never to be the case and is very difficult to achieve. Progress takes time, failure, and resilience. The problem with a new year’s resolution is just that, it’s immediate; right now, on this day, at this moment and until the year’s end.  We all know a vast majority of people fail at their new year’s resolutions and that’s why. “On this day, at this moment for 2017, I will _________.” There’s several problems with that though. You see there are speed bumps along the road that many people don’t realize will occur. You may know you will struggle, but you don’t know how until you’re in that moment. You can anticipate the feelings you will have, but you don’t really know until you’re in that moment. Those can be the real issues along with others.

People often feel like they’ve failed once they fall off the wagon. “I’m done!” “It’s over!” *hands thrown up in the air* It’s easy to feel that way. Why? Cause you made a FIRM decision that in that moment for a whole year would or achieve whatever it is that you decided on. You’re not going to be able to run a marathon on sheer optimism alone. Fact is you’re going to have to make personal sacrifices to get to where you want to be.

Life is not a quick fix. Some of the easiest habits are the hardest ones to break. Chances are it’s been years of bad habits that have gotten you to this place of wanting to make a change. Even though we live in an instant world our bodies and minds are still roughly the same as they were thousands of years ago. What’s taken time to develop will take time to undo. Our bodies are designed to change slowly, not instantly. It’s how we’ve survived as a species this long. Sure you can go get surgery, get that injection, or take that pill, yes your body will have changed but your mind hasn’t, and I guarantee until you fix that you will continue to fail.

However, that instant “want it now” attitude? Don’t let sway you from the reason not to try something, that’s called ambition and that’s the first step in journey to getting to where you want to be.

Let’s go back and look at the definition of a goal again, “the object of a person’s AMBITION or effort; an aim or desired result.” Again, it’s easy to see the similarities but let’s take two examples that are prevalent in the fitness industry that often fail because of a resolution mindset. Wanting to lose weight and gaining muscle mass.

Achieving these goals take changing your daily habits. Recent research suggests it can take on average up to 66 days to form a habit. Woof. Over two months of not breaking and conceding back to old habits. Starting to see why so many resolutions fall to the waste side? Let alone other fad “Lose weight in 14 days!” diets? Again, there is no quick fix in these scenarios. So based on this data in order for your new habits to lose weight or increase lean muscle mass to likely become fully habitual you have to be consistent with them for 66 days. Now you may be thinking, “But Sam, that doesn’t sound too bad right?” You’re right it doesn’t, BUT, lets throw in some life variables and see how things shake up. Let’s add in stressors such as your job, deadlines, bills, relationships, media overload, bad days, good days, not getting enough sleep, bad drivers, getting stuck in traffic, being late to an appointment, for ladies that time of the month, maybe you have physical pain such as your back, knee, or hip. Now let’s throw in the fact you’re trying to change a daily habit on top of that. Get the point? Almost your whole life has to take an overhaul. I’m not saying don’t swing for the fences but make realistic and achievable goals for yourself that will keep you motivated.

Goals can be short term. It’s an aim, a desired result, your ambition! They more are manageable, attainable, and malleable.  It’s easier to plan ahead, change your habits, and manage your stress for 30 days than it is for 365. It keeps you motivated, it’s easier to maintain those new habits for 30 days, take a step back, make some adjustments, then go at it again for 60, and then 90 and so forth.

Before you know it you’ve changed your life. You’re buying new food, probably met new friends, perhaps found a new job. You’re more motivated, you’ve learned more about yourself, your helping others, you find yourself going out of the way to practice those healthy habits. Then all of sudden it hits you, those old bad habits? They seem like a thing of the past.

So why should you set a goal (or goals) and not a resolution for the new year? Because why set yourself up for failure when success can just be 30, 60, or 90 days away.

– Coach Sam