This is the time of the year when many people make New Year’s Resolutions and others poo-poo the idea. I even saw one meme that read something like “If you need to set a date to change something, you really don’t want to change it”. And I think that’s the sentiment behind many of the resolution party-poopers; of which, I will admit to being, simply because I don’t care to see everyone’s “This is going to be my year” posts on social media.
Birthdays tend to be another time when people get sentimental, nostalgic, and reevaluate their life. Because, even though there’s no new calendar, or promise of new things, you’ve managed to survive another year of life. There’s hope that the next year will bring something better – even if better means the ho-hum boring status quo. Because, let’s face it, sometimes having nothing exciting happening in your life IS pretty darn exciting!
So while I may not put much stock in New Year’s Resolutions, I’ll let you in on a little secret, I get hit with a double whammy each January – it’s a new calendar year, and my birthday is just around the corner. Which means while I don’t much care for New Year’s Resolutions, around this time of the year, I reevaluate what I accomplished last year, and I often do set new goals for myself.
What’s the difference? For me, goals are a bit more tangible. I know the difference is a very fine line, and maybe for me, it’s all about being able to quantify things and having a plan of attack. After all if you tell me you want to exercise more, I may ask “More than what? An elephant? A lab rat? A professional stunt woman? Or are you trying to excercise more restraint? More compassion?” Technically if you point and flex your toes a few times while watching TV you’ve exercised more than someone napping on the sofa… Whereas if you said you wanted to exercise on Tuesdays and Thursdays – well, now you’ve got a plan, something to work towards that is doable, and a way to measure your success. That’s a goal I can understand and relate to.
I also think it has something to do with the way in which we use the words “goal” and “resolution”. Goal implies something you can work towards and achieve, it’s a positive type of action. Whereas resolutions are things that we say we are trying to “keep” or maintain, it implies restraint and willpower – it somehow has a less positive implied action At least to these ears.
Personally, I’d rather work towards a goal. But if you’re more likely to keep resolutions, go for it. In the mean time, let’s remember that every day is a new day and the opportunity to do something to improve yourself – regardless of the calendar date.