Every year around this time, we begin making our New Year’s Resolutions list. Most of the list is actually filled with goals, rather than resolutions. They are really two different concepts, but both can work together in helping you to bring about the change you want to see in your life.

In sales, they say to sell the benefits as opposed to the features. You have to sell the results and feelings that people want to have. Those benefits are more like the resolutions, and the features are more like the goals. You want the end result that will give you the feelings, and yet there are things that need to be done or to be possessed first to get there. What we find is that most people give up on their “resolutions” by February, because they become discouraged.  This is because they are not properly planning out and delineating their resolutions AND goals.  They are also setting themselves up for failure by believing resolutions are to be completed in a set timeframe. There’s no flexibility, where there should be.

Many people make a “resolution” to lose 10 pounds, or make $5,000, or take a trip. But, what they are really doing is stating a goal. There’s no real plan of action, and no guiding principle to actually achieving these goals. That’s why you have to get to the root of why you have a particular goal. What is the overall desire? For instance, is your goal to lose 10 pounds this year? If so, what happens when you reach that goal? How do you think you will feel? Would this be enough? Or is your overall desire to look and feel healthy, because you believe it will make you happier in your life? If that’s the case, your resolution can be something like, ” I resolve to look and feel healthy, so that I may feel happier and live a longer life.” This is a general principle with which to guide you through life without having a specific time-frame in mind. That takes away the time pressure and also helps guide individual goals that can assist you with the overall resolution, but not destroying it if you fail to meet a goal underneath  it.

Now once you have your overall big picture idea, really your resolution, then you can use this to guide you in your goals. Looking and feeling healthy, might incorporate several goals underneath. For instance, you can have 2019 goals of losing 10 pounds, quitting smoking, and taking vitamins on an almost daily basis. These all fall under the overall resolution and can be easily measured because they have a timeframe and a set deliverable. These would be long-term, as they take place over a year.

These goals are to set a focus in your mind. Then, underneath these goals, you can set-up quarterly, short-term goals that you can work toward first in order to reach the overall long-term goals. Then, you can break it even further down into objectives. These are like sub-goals or activities to achieving your quarterly short-term goals. You can adjust them as needed, to accommodate for unexpected things. This gives you the flexibility to recover, even if you fail to do something or have an unexpected situation.

Let’s use the “Lose 10 pounds in 2019 Goal” as an example. You may have quarterly short-term goal like, lose 3 pounds in 3 months. And in the objectives, you would put things like, exercise for 60 minutes a week and reduce caloric intake 3,000 a day. Then, at the end of the quarter you can evaluate if you met those objectives and if they in fact resulted in you achieving your short-term quarterly goal. For instance, say you met the objectives, but only lost 2 pounds. This may mean your objectives weren’t aggressive enough this quarter to achieve the goal, so you adjust the objectives to make them 90 minutes of exercise and 2,500 calories a day. You can set the same 3 pounds goal, and if you achieve it, you are half-way through the year and have lost 5 pounds, which puts you right on track for the 10 pounds by  the end of the year. So even with a hiccup, you can still hit your long-term goal. It’s like an experiment to see what works best, to you can hone in on it to make it happen. And even at the end of the year,  if you’ve only lost 9 pounds, you still lost 9 pounds and can adjust your goals or objectives next year to achieve it next time around, all while still falling under the overall resolution. Remember that things can be adjusted. You can change your long-term goals. If you achieve one very early, you know to aim higher for the next goal.

This might sound like a lot, but the time investment is really not as bad as you might think. You can start off with just one resolution, and spend less than an hour planning out your annual goals, and your first quarter goals. Then, every 3 months, you can evaluate and adjust. So in less than 5 hours for the year, you can be on track for achieving several goals. You see people picking one focus word for the year, but you can pick one focus resolution for now. And once you go through that and see how easy it was to manage, you can add another resolution to set goals for. You would continue the resolution from this year and add the next one, and so forth. At some point, you may feel like behaviors are already natural and that’s fine. You no longer need to set goals for them, unless you experience a hiccup in the future. You don’t have to add on more resolutions if you don’t want to. You have the control over it.

To help assist you in your own resolution and goal-planning, I’ve made a worksheet for you to download. Just click below to download.


Resolutions vs Goals: How Both are Important for Transforming Your Life. Plus, bonus resolutions and goal-planning worksheet.