Resolutions vs. Setting Goals – What’s the Difference?

The quick answer to the question is:

Resolutions and goals are seen as different but should be one and the same.

Now that we have that out of the way, I also want to put it out there that I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. They make no sense to me. Why set a few resolutions once a year which many times are short-lived, instead of setting real goals and reviewing them often…hmmm…?

In Richard Branson’s blog post attached to the above tweet he talks about reflecting on the year that has just passed and then set goals for the year ahead. He talks about Mo Farrah, the current Olympic, World and European champion in the 5000 metres to 10,000 metres, and included this quote from him:

"When you have a vision and you have a dream, you dig in more. It makes you focus. That's the thing about having a goal and wanting to achieve something great. You push yourself harder and do things you didn't think you could be capable of.” (Mo Farrah)

Like Richard Branson, I am also a list maker. I make lists for everything that needs to be done. The list that has yielded the most returns is my “Gifts” list – I have lists of gifts that I think people will like – it makes shopping for Christmas and birthdays much easier. Make this a good habit to cultivate.

In the blog post mentioned in the tweet above (“New Year’s Resolutions? Make a List, Get it Done), he says that lists are “a call to action” and that there is immense satisfaction in “…ticking off the things I have completed, and turning them into the next idea or link in the chain.”

Remember: no goal is too big or too small to plan for. 

Here’s the other thing about goals which is implied in Mo Farrah’s approach – you have to by hungry for it. Only when you are hungry for something will you actually plan for it, write it down somewhere, keep it close and start actioning the small steps towards achieving it.

I’m sure you have heard of, or used the ubiquitous SMART goal-setting technique, popularised by management guru Peter Drucker.

It’s easy to say that you want to lose weight. But unless you are really hungry for it (pardon the double-entendre) you will not lose an ounce. There has got to be a deep emotional connection to your goal.

Visualisation is a powerful technique to help you achieve your goals.

You have to SEE a slimmer you walking around and interacting with your environment, HEAR the words and ideas that come out of your mouth when you are slimmer, FEEL what it will feel like when you have achieved your goal of slimness (here’s an idea – how does it feel like to squeeze into your jeans right now? And how will it feel like when you slip effortlessly into your jeans in the future?).

Evoke and invoke the deep emotional connection. Immerse yourself in it.

Here’s the thing though: if you can’t evoke the emotional connection to your goal, don’t even bother with it! It will be a waste of your time, and perhaps money. And you’ll probably end up despondent and disappointed. It’s not worth it. Find something else OR re-evaluate what you really want and go in another direction.

Easier said than done but, as with all things, real goal-setting takes practice and learning from ‘un-successes’.

"At the end of the day, life is for living; and living is about health and happiness, so remember the to-do list, but don't forget the to-be list." (Richard Branson)

I really like the idea of the “to-be list” because it talks directly to your Identity – who you are and want to be.

Ensure your goals support you becoming a better version of yourself, rather than a different version of yourself.


Featured image by Rdevany, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

4 thoughts on “Resolutions vs. Setting Goals – What’s the Difference?”

  1. Your first photo caught my eye! The colours of the rolled up towels made the sea look greener and more inviting and balanced the photo so well. I have long wished to improve my photography, maybe this year? 🙂
    You have got me reading Richard Branson’s blog now too!

    1. He’s just so great, and comes across as rather humble.

      About the photography – I joined a Facebook group last week called M4H Project 52 for photographers of all levels with any type of camera. The aim is to post a photo a week according to a theme. I hope that my photographic skills will be stretched and I will improve. If you are interested, this is the link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/M4HProject52/

  2. This is such a great post! I don’t really make resolutions, but I need to improve my gift giving and card sending. I am always late. I have started working toward this goal by setting reminders in my phone’s calendar. I used to make lists and abandoned them a long time ago. Maybe that’s why I am always late with cards and gifts. Maybe I’ll start list making again. Happy 2015!

    1. I also used to buy Christmas cards but never address the envelopes and they never made it to the post office :-). That’s one thing I have never managed to do regularly (or at all), so I don’t anymore. Thank goodness for Facebook else I wouldn’t be wishing anyone a Merry Christmas or Happy New Year. Thank you for commenting, I love them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge