Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Setting Goals versus Resolutions

It's that time of year again - New Year's Eve is around the corner and people are planning their resolutions for 2015. Gyms will be packed with people who have the best intentions of getting fit again, diet programs will see an uptick in memberships, stores will sell more organization tools, and many people will be making lists of things that they plan on improving on. I'm not one of them.

I've never made resolutions for the new year - at least I can't recall ever doing so. My new year always seems to be in September, when children go back to school and work places return to normal after employees have returned from summer vacations. January 1 doesn't seem like a new year to me. The week before and the week after are the same - not like September when the season is changing and new opportunities seem to be everywhere.

But what about setting goals? Is that different? I think it is. Setting a goal means you want to accomplish something over the course of the upcoming year. The goal could be related to health (losing weight, getting fit, eating better), personal life (learning a new skill, traveling, saving money), or business life (landing a new client, starting a business, changing jobs). A goal seems to be a more practical way of approaching a new year.

Last year, I set a goal to save money for Christmas 2014, starting in January. I used the 52-week savings plan that was circulating on Facebook. But I did it with a twist. The plan said to save one dollar for the number week of the year - so in week one, you saved one dollar. In week two, you saved two dollars, in week 32, you saved 32 dollars, and so on. But I thought that it might be harder to have more money at the end of the year than at the beginning, so I flipped it. Week one, I saved 52 dollars. Week two, I saved 51 dollars, and so on. Sure enough - by the time shopping for Christmas came around, I had a nice sum in my savings account to pay cash for everything. It worked. It may not work for everyone, but it worked for me. I met my goal and I was quite proud of myself!

So, what's my goal for 2015? I have a book coming out early next year. It's for the general public on a health issue that most people should find helpful. My goal is to ensure the book is off to a great start, and that marketing and publicity push it to a point that people will see it and think, "hmm, I need this book."

I also want to increase my number of clients. I have some great regular clients for whom I write site content and articles for online and print use, but I'd like to add to that group for a bit more variety. To do that, I need to do more marketing and networking. So, my goal is to get out a certain number of letters of introductions (LOIs) and applications over the course of the year.

For the personal part of my life, I want to learn more about different quilting techniques that are interesting me. I started a new-to-me skill project just before Christmas and am happy with how it is going. But there is so much more I want to learn! My goal is to read, learn, and practice until I feel I've accomplished the new skills.

Do you have goals? What are your goals for the upcoming year?


Anonymous said...

I see things a bit differently - I like the flash of motivation everyone seems to get at New Years'. Although I most definitely agree with you about the feeling of September, I find that Christmas, with all the guests, decorating, gifts, food lends itself well to a complete turn-the-house-upside-down feeling that, after all is said and done, leaves me feeling pretty refreshed. Old things have to get tossed to make room for new things; all the visitors, well wishes, prayers for peace, a concentrated focus on the good side of humanity (in part thanks to Dickens and Hallmark movies) etc., is a remarkable rush of energy. When Jan 1 comes around, it's calm, quiet again. But that's just my opinion :) (I'm not saying I don't get stressed at Christmas, but I find the stress is part of the spiritual and physical clean-outs that happen.)

Marijke Vroomen-Durning said...

You have a good point Lori. There is something about how different the house feels once all the Christmas decorations are put away for yet another year.

I think the reason September is such a new year for me is that when my children were growing up, this was when their increasing age hit home - when they started a new grade. I didn't feel it at their birthdays, after all, there was nothing really different, but starting a new grade (or school, depending on the level), was something so defined.

Tracey Arial said...

I'm split. My birthday is in September, so like Marijke, I've always seen that month as the beginning of a new year. Like Lori, though, I love the motivation of New Year's and love setting resolutions. I usually go overboard and set eight of them (food, activity, love life, money, career, family, spiritual and friends).

Anonymous said...

For many years, I've been doing a review of the year ending, as I did today. Good resolutions tend to be vague, and I agree that wording an objective with measurable results is helpful. So I write a few results I want to report at the end of the following year. I did well in 2014 when I compare my goals set a year ago.

Elizabeth Hanes said...

I'm with you on the September thing. For me, it comes from growing up on a farm. Once the crops are all harvested and the fields plowed and fallow, I feel a sense the year has wound to a close. The feelings of renewal follow soon after. And you're absolutely right about goals versus resolutions. Great blog post!