by Mira Reverente
One year ago, around this time, a friend asked me if I had set my goals for the following year. I gave her a quizzical look and asked, “What goals?”
Since it was almost the new year, I had resolutions in mind. Just like everyone else, I used to come up with a short list, but by February or long before taxes are due, they’re forgotten.
According to a story that appeared on Forbes.com, only 8 percent of the population achieve their New Year’s resolutions. The top reason for failure was lack of willpower.
So given those discouraging statistics, should you set a resolution or a goal? What is the difference between the two? Both are focused on changing behavior and achieving results. A goal has a starting and an ending point but a resolution does not. A resoluton is a decision or an intention we want to keep, not necessarily complete. A resolution is often vague while a goal is more specific.
As an example, “losing weight” is a popular New Year’s resolution. “Losing a pound a week” is a goal. Both can work hand-in-hand, goals can be part of a resolution.
Here are a few tips to help you succeed whether you set a goal or a resolution, or both:
Focus on one or a few rather on several. Instead of coming up with a mile-long list, focus on your top two or three. That way, you can devote all your positive energy and time into achieving them.
Make it specific but simple. A pound a week is specific and simple. And trackable. And so is saving $20 a week.
Write it down. Whether you’re old-school or a gadget junkie, write it down. Mine are on my iPhone, in the notes app. I have kept my lists from a few years back. I review them every few weeks or so to see how far I’ve come or whether my goals have become repetitious or need to be tweaked.
Surround yourself with like-minded folks. Ever hear the saying that goes something like this: “Don’t listen to financial advice from broke people.” Along the same lines, if your goal is fitness-oriented, hang out with people who eat healthily and work out regularly.
Celebrate victories–big or small. Or better yet, celebrate between milestones. Don’t wait till you’ve quit smoking for six months. Celebrate the first month and every month thereafter. Waiting too long between milestones can be discouraging and may cause you to fall off the wagon, so to speak.
Here are some of my goals for 2017:
- Write more consistently, specifically, at least one new blog post a week.
- Find a new sport or class that will rev up my metabolism and help make me leaner and meaner.
- Go one long summer road trip with my daughter, to the East Coast this time.
- Work on a home improvement project–deciding between repainting the rooms and changing some light fixtures.
What would you like to achieve in 2017?
Mira Reverente is associate editor of CVH and a longtime journalist whose work has appeared in many local publications. Her first book on money came out last fall. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, for more money savviness tips or check out her new blog.