January 1, 2012

sunday how-to: goal-setting not resolution-making

with the start of a new year comes new resolutions we make and break within the first month. personally, i hate "resolutions". i find them vague, hard to follow, and generally useless. every time i have resolved to change (my habits, my behavious, my hair), i find myself slacking off, and when december 31 rolls around and i remember what i had set out to do exactly one year ago, i end up disappointed in myself. so, last year i stopped making resolutions and started setting goals.

lo and behold, i actually got somewhere.

for me, the difference between a resolution and a goal is in their definitions:

resolution - the act of determining upon a course of action.
goal - the result or achievement toward which effort is directed.

they may sound similar, but look closely. a resolution involves determining what you will do, but nowhere does it state the actual completion of that course of action. the definition for goal includes an action - effort is used to produce a result.

photo by nimish gogri

resolutions most often read along the lines of "be happy", "lose weight", and "pay off debt". but goals are a bit more defined. instead of just "getting fit", set a goal of running for 20 minutes without stopping, or being able to complete 200 sit-ups in a row, or competing in a half-marathon.

goals have an end result. you'll know whether you paid off the $10,000 you set out to on january 1st, or whether you lost those 40lbs. you'll feel more accountable to yourself, and you will be more likely to make those changes in your life.

in 2011 i took on 3 goals:

  • pay off $6000 of school debt
  • get married for under $5000
  • save $150 per month, minimum

and i am super proud to say that i have completed all three of them. following this success (and a dramatic shift in focus now that our wedding is over), i'm upping the ante for 2012, and taking on a couple more goals.

pay off remaining $5,279.20 of student loan
self-explanatory. i want to be rid of this burden. a friend and reader has requested i write about my debt-reduction plan, so stay tuned for an upcoming post on this very subject!

save $6000 towards a home
with our wedding over (post about it to come in the next couple of months!), the boy and i are shifting our number one priority towards the purchase of a home. we've been renting for nearly 3 years together (he's on 5), and can't wait to move up to a mortgage. we want to renovate, and decorate, and not have to call a super in order to have our toilet fixed (or, you know, to find out what happened to the heating).

be able to complete 30 full, consecutive pushups (none of this girly "on-the-knees" nonsense)
my upper-body strength is embarassingly terrible. as it is, i can barely complete 7 or 8 half-pushups, on my knees. yikes.

complete the 21-day whole living cleanse
i have a lot of problems with foods. i can take fairly certain guesses towards lactose intolerance and a gluten/wheat intolerance, but i've never done anything to verify it (and goddamn, i love my cheese). this is the year i will discover just how badly i was treating my body, and finally fix it.

write a minimum of 12 posts each month
i started living d.i.n.k. in july 2011, technically. between july and november i wrote maybe a handful of posts, trying to figure out my "voice" (and because i was really lazy). then in november my best friend lit a fire under my ass and i started churning out posts on a more regular basis. well, i want to keep the momentum going. wish me luck.

photo by mooshe mazhab

to get you started on your own goals, here are a few different areas of your life in which you may want to improve, change or eliminate something:

  • family/friends/significant other
    • do you want to strengthen these relationships? eliminate those that are toxic? spend more time with the people you love? set up weekly or monthly dates and get-togethers. take up an activity with a friend, or learn to dance with your partner.
  • health and wellness
    • do you want to eliminate stress from your life? take up a practice that will help keep you calm, like yoga or meditation. maybe you want to drop a dress size? learn about portion sizes and strength training.
  • personal growth
    • would you like to be able to have a basic conversation in a new language by the end of the year? be on your way to opening your own business? take a class (or two or three) this year and push your own personal boundaries. see how much you can learn and accomplish!
  • money and wealth
    • maybe, like the boy and me, you want to buy a house in the near future. set up a financial target you want to meet. or maybe you want to start saving, period. meet with your bank and figure out where you are financially, and what you're capable of doing (mutual funds, investing, and the like).

i'd love to know what you're hoping/planning to accomplish in 2012! share in the comments, and maybe we can help motivate each other ;).


Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

It's rather pathetic that I've been out of school for coming up on 5 years now and haven't yet started to really pay off my student loans and line of credit. Actually, I went the opposite route and got a credit card and maxed that out since. All in all, not the direction I had hoped to be going. However, in 2012 I plan to attack my financial burdens like a cheetah on an antelope and eliminate both my visa and student line of credit - mainly because they are both with RBC and I absolutely detest this institute. As of this moment I have cleared off over half of my credit card soon to be tackling that mountain of a line of credit.
With getting into shape, I definitely have a long-lasting on-and-off again relationship with exercise. My goal this year was to maintain a consistent regiment with both exercise and eating habits... Stay-tuned on that update as I've fallen off the wagon almost every week since the New Year. I guess the important thing is to keep trying. So I am!
It's interesting you suggest learning a new language. That's always been on my resolution list, but I never end up even starting. While I haven't yet started diving into Spanish I have planned out when I will have the time to take an archery class toward the end of Spring. Now if I can play more guitar by the end of 2012 I'll treat myself to a piano! Incentive incentive incentive!
Thanks for the advice! I hope your "goals" are coming along?

all the best in 2012!

Yael said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

thanks for the feedback! i'm happy to have inspired you (in any small way) towards accomplishing a goal or two! and i'm definitely happy to hear how far you've already come in debt repayment! i'll be writing about that in-depth shortly, so keep an eye out!

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