Goals Give Teeth to Your New Year’s Resolutions


Celebrating the new year is pretty much synonymous with the idea of making resolutions – those fresh intentions about what we hope to be or do in the year ahead, such as “I’ll read more, spend more time with family, and get more sleep.” Resolutions are a great starting point, but when we accompany them with concrete goals, it makes for a powerful combination.

Goals give teeth to our resolutions, supporting them with needed specificity and accountability. They articulate a concrete and measurable target, such as “By the end of the year, I will have read 10 books.”

Here are six reasons to augment your resolutions with goals this new year:

Otherwise, It’s Too Easy to Let Yourself Off the Hook: If we don’t link our resolutions to concrete goals for the future, it’s just too easy to let them fall off the radar once a little time passes. Life is busy and sticking to our resolutions is hard. Goals help us maintain focus even when it’d be more convenient to forget about that pesky resolution you made back in January.

Goals Help You Stretch & Play Big: Because effective goals represent measurable targets, they force you to put a stake in the ground regarding what you hope to achieve. And in doing so, you have the opportunity to set a target that’s farther than you might have originally thought you could hit. This can generate higher levels of energy and momentum than if you’d left your resolution vague or overly attainable.

Distractions Are Increasing in Power & Number: In a world where digital distractions are becoming increasingly addictive and numerous, it’s even more important to create clear goals and milestones. These can be guiding lights for prioritizing our time, and serve as helpful reminders of the bigger picture.

Without a Clear Destination, You’ll End Up Wandering: If you haven’t defined a clear destination, you’ll likely end up wasting time and effort wandering down the wrong roads. Even a slight difference in the nature of a target can totally change the direction one takes to get there, so getting clear about a destination up front is critical.

You Have Limited Time & Energy: You can’t do everything, as much as we’d all like to sometimes. Each of us has a finite amount of time and energy, which means it’s all the more important to make choices about which resolutions you’re going to firmly commit to in the form of a few measured goals. You can then work towards those achievements and let go of the pressure to accomplish everything you might dream up for yourself.

Goals Invite Support from Others: When you translate your hopes and resolutions into concrete goals, then it’s easier for others to recognize and share in your vision. They can see what you’re trying to accomplish, and are much more likely to offer their support, resources and encouragement.