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  • Rachel Allen Dillon

New Year's Goals Not Resolutions

I looked up the dictionary definition of Resolution (a firm decision to do or not to do something) and the definition of Goal (the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.)

I feel like a resolution is more of a slap on the hand, and a goal is more human and considers that life sometimes gets in the way when we're trying to accomplish something. So, as my young adult children and I took many long walks over the holiday, I asked them their goals for 2024, not their resolutions.

I believe that goals are frequently inspired by wanting to change behaviors, ones I want to discontinue or long to begin. I set a few decidedly behavior-oriented goals this year. The thing I like about a goal, taking into account the other definition of the word-- an object that travels into a net or over a line, a goal is measurable. By the end of the year, I will know if I hit my goals.

Making a resolution to work out more is pretty easy to give up on. What does working out more look like? How will one know if they reached their non-defined resolution to work out more? But if you set a measurable goal and give yourself a reason WHY you do it, you will be likelier to stick to it.

In the past, I've written down a lot of New Year's goals that I didn't achieve. I was usually too ambitious or unrealistic; for example, I'm going to journal every day. Then the guilt sets in when I miss a day of journaling, then another; then inevitably, my brain goes to, "Oh, what's the point."

Now when I set a goal, I start by asking myself why I want to journal every day, why it's important to me, and how it'll benefit me. Then I define journaling - does that mean an entire page, or can it just be one word? That definition gives me options, so I don't feel like I'm letting myself down when I don't have the energy to dive into my emotions or retell tales.

I think it's fabulous to ask ourselves as we start a brand new calendar if we want to do something different that year. Motivation comes from many sources, and I'll take as many as I can. I reflect on my past to set annual goals so I can walk through this life carrying joy and balance with me. A great big CHEERS to 2024. May your goals help your journey feel lighter and more fulfilling.

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