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Set Goals, Not Resolutions...


It's that time of year again: Resolution Season! Now that the holidays have (mostly) come and gone, our attention focuses on the flip of the calendar, and the new year ahead of us. For many, that means deciding on a New Year's resolution du jour. We've all heard the statistics; 90%+ of our New Year's resolutions are entirely abandoned by February. That's all well-and-good, but why is that, and why, Brett, should we be setting goals instead?


Well, I'm glad you asked -- even if I asked for you! Resolutions fall flat because they often lack substance; insofar as they tend to eschew the planning and defining power that makes goal setting so impactful. Resolutions identify what you hope to accomplish; well-intentioned as they may be, seldom do they identify the why and the how, so it's really not surprising that so many of them get lost along the way.


It will be no shock to you that the most popular New Year's resolutions involve eating healthier / losing weight / exercising more. Given the punishment we put our bodies through over the holiday eating extravaganza, most of us are ready for a reset. For many, they're setting that kind of resolution more out of a desire to get away from feeling physically awful from the previous week or so, rather than a true desire to make changes in their life. When we take a look further down the list, we find other favourites such as: quit smoking, be less stressed, get out of debt, and watch less TV. All of these resolutions listed have a common theme running through them: avoidance. We are working to avoid difficult or unwanted feelings or situations by resolving ourselves to do the opposite. Whilst avoidance may seem to be a why, it stems from a mindset of scarcity and lack, and seldom do we accomplish great things when that is our starting point.

Goals and goal-setting, on the other hand, focus on us positively moving forward to achieve our desired outcomes. There are multiple frameworks which exist to determine how strong and meaningful they are to us. Those frameworks, and others, require us to be introspective about our goals; through that introspection, we gain insight as to why we want to accomplish them. Working with like-minded colleagues or coaches, we gain the accountability and direction (the how) necessary to succeed. Goals thusly demand more of us, as they require us to put thought, action, and effort into what we're accomplishing, and are reinforced by our strong why for doing it.


I by no means am calling you out as being lackluster for making resolutions instead of setting goals. Rather, I'm asking you to ask more of yourself. Don't move forward into 2018 with weak statements about what you hope to accomplish. Forge ahead strongly with defined notions of what you plan on succeeding at backed by an impactful why, and a plan that identifies how. Ask more of yourself, because that's what you truly deserve.



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