Self-Help: Set Goals, Not Resolutions

The group’s writing prompt for today, courtesy of Glenn is:

“It’s a dream until you write it down, and then it’s a goal.”

The thing with dreams is, it’s easy to get lost in them for hours and even days at a time. We dream dreams that melt in the light of day. And we end up frustrated, knowing another dream has slipped away.

The big question is, will your dreams just stay dreams or would you take it a step further, write it down, make it a reality?

I’ve written a lot of articles on self-help and how to make your dreams come true. In the process of researching and writing about it, IU made the connection between dreams, goals, and resolutions.

Here’s what I’ve learned: Resolutions inevitably fail. One way to stay true to your resolve is to set goals. And the best way to do this? Yep, you got that right, jot it down. By writing down the things you want to achieve, you’re bridging the gap between a nebulous idea, and a concrete outcome. It’s a small step when you look at it. BUT it’s the one step many people fail to do.

When you keep saying: “I’ll lose a few pounds this year.” That’s an idea. And ideas can ferment forever inside your head without you taking any positive action towards realizing it. Your mind is effectively telling you that you’re not quite there yet. It’s not that real. It can stay there where you can play around with it, thinking of the clothes that you’ll wear, the healthy feeling of shedding those heavy pounds, and how good you’ll look.

Now imagine if you write it down. “I will lose a few pounds this year.” That makes it concrete. That makes it very real.
Now, be very specific. How much weight do you need to lose? “I will lose 15 Lbs. this year.” Better, right? Not quite.
“This year” can be any time, and trust me, you’ll do a convincing act of saying, but tomorrow is still this year, so I’ll start tomorrow.”

The best thing to do in this instance is not just write your goals down, but to break it up into small, achievable goals over a specific period of time.

“I will lose 15 lbs by the end of the year. I will start my weight lose regimen today, and I aim to lose at least one pound every two weeks.”

Better? Definitely. But you also need to add the ways to achieve your goals. How do you go about losing weight?
Write it down.

“I will lose 15 lbs by the end of the year. I will start my weight lose regimen today, and I aim to lose at least one pound every two weeks.”

I will lose weight by:

Eating 3,500 calories less than my weekly calorie intake.
Walk for 20 minutes 3 x a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays

Now that’s more like it. The next step is to actually ACT on your dreams. Give yourself that big big push. Don’t overthink it and just do it.

Aside from setting small achievable goals on paper and doing them, you also need to monitor your progress. Chart a timeline and match your progress against your goals. For instance: March 5 goal: Lost 2 pounds already. Reality: Lost 1 pound.Doing this helps you to evaluate where your weakness lies, and adjust your approach to hit your goals.

Don’t feel disappointed when you don’t hit your target for that specific day, neither should you binge on a box of doughnuts or bowls of ice cream. It’s a small setback and at this point, focusing on the big picture helps.

When you do reach your goals, reward yourself. Ge that book you always wanted but was too expensive, or see a movie with a friend, get a massage, a mani and pedi, or a spa treatment.

By doing these things regularly, you’ll slowly see your dreams turn to reality.

5 thoughts on “Self-Help: Set Goals, Not Resolutions

  1. 😀 I agree. one should be specific with the steps to achieving the goal. My goal this year is to be lighter. I still eat what I want but less on carbohydrates. I also take my daily walks. 😀 and a plunge here and there. jumping ropes. But I always make sure I don’t get too exhausted that I don’t do it again the next day.


  2. Good advice. I have always set goals for myself. If I don’t, I feel less-productive. However, I don’t write them down as often as I did. I set some goals in my head (e.g., creating art) and find that when I do that, I let other things like: cleaning house, even blogging take precedence. Then, I get discouraged because I really wanted to paint but, it just didn’t happen that day or the next. It becomes a less-than-gratifying pattern.
    I really need to get back in to the habit of writing ALL my goals down and checking them off. I love that feeling when checking them off. Now, that’s accomplishing gratifying results.


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