Resolutions Versus Goal-Setting

From the desk of: Veronica

I need to talk to you about New Year’s resolutions for a minute.

Yes. I know I am about a week late for New Year talk, but last week on was on my deathbed … not that any of you asked. Luckily Amanda saw me crying about it on facebook and told me to take a day off. At least someone cares. And it was my WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. Geez.

Anyway, I had no brain power to talk about New Year’s resolutions last week, but this week I need to admit something.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, and I am not ashamed in the least.

I used to make resolutions, but I only got disappointed year after year. I would make carefully constructed resolutions, usually regarding eating and exercising habits, and by February I would be so mad at myself for not being perfect that I would give up and decide to scrap the whole thing.

Either that, or I would make a list of a few things I wanted to change about myself, but they were very large and abstract. For example, I would say I want to be kinder, a harder worker, and more generous. But how does one measure such things? If I checked in once a month, what specific things would “prove” I had improved these character traits? This system also set me up for disappointment and I would throw in the towel within the month.

This year, I decided I want to try to start fresh on New Year’s, but instead of making resolutions, I want to get back to my list-making habit. In essence, I want to start setting goals and meeting them.

Back when I had two or more jobs outside the home at a time, I had so many lists you wouldn’t believe it: Things That MUST Be Accomplished Today, Things That Would Be Great to Also Accomplish Today, Things to Do This Week, Things to Do This Month, Long-term Work Goals, Long-term Organization Goals, Long-term Home Improvement Goals, etc. etc. etc. When I had my second daughter at the same time I was moving across the state, my world turned upside down a bit and I just did what I had to do to get by every day.

Now that I spend most of my day taking care of my girls and I have to squeeze in my telecommuting job and freelance work when they are sleeping, I am a bit adrift. I need my lists. If I have a list of twenty things I want to get done hanging on my fridge, I am likely to get them done lickety-split instead of going to bed every night and thinking about all the things I should have done.

I already have three lists on the fridge: Accomplish This Week, Easy Home Improvement, Long-term Home Improvement. I am chugging along on my lists, and I feel accomplished. When I feel accomplished I feel happier and calmer, and I am a gentler parent and more present spouse.

BOOM. Those are all things I could have made resolutions to change, but I just would have said “I want to be happier, calmer, a gentler parent, and a more present spouse” on New Year’s Day then beat myself up a few days later when I hadn’t made any discernable progress.

So, tell me – are you a resolutions person or not? What are you planning for the New Year?

And, of course, Happy New Year!

You can find Veronica at her blog, Veronica M.D. (no, she’s not a real doctor), on TwitterInstagram, (and Pinterest!). Feel free to stalk her. She encourages it.


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