Goals vs Resolutions

Happy 2017 peeps! May this be the most successful, rewarding, joyous and blessed year yet Insha’Allah!

As I went through my previous rants of years past, I found one I had written over eight years ago for my career development blog on goal planning. Now as you’ve set resolutions for 2017, let me ask you, when was the last time you actually went passed February with any of your resolutions still in mind?

That got me thinking about how we go about our new year’s resolutions. Can my idea of goal planning from eight years ago be applied today? I took a hard look at it and realized that yes it can. With that in mind, here’s a fresh take on how to apply an old habit for new year’s, and quite frankly, all year round.

Goals vs Resolutions
Goal Planning for 2017
by Ms. Hala

First week of January and I’m sure you’ve got your new years resolution set. Maybe even started working on it? What’s your new years resolution this year? Is it to lose that holiday weight? To graduate college? To save enough money? To travel the world? That all sounds good but is it tangible enough to actually be accomplished?

Let’s start by understanding the word “resolution”.

– a firm decision to do or not to do something.
– the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.

A quick Google search of the definition shows us that it means to solve a problem, making a decision towards an action. Not sure if that’s the route you were thinking of when you were coming up with what you’d like to accomplish this year.

May I suggest using the word “goal” instead?

-the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

Goal is defined by understanding your ambition, the effort you are willing to take, the end result you actually want.

Your new year’s resolution is to fix your weight problem. Your new year’s goal is to lose that extra 15 pounds by working out and changing your eating habits. Do you see the difference?

If it’s a problem, then it’s a resolution but if it’s an ambition, then it’s a goal. Either way, let’s plan it out together. I’ll use one of my own personal goals as an example. However, this method applies for almost anything you have in mind.

I didn’t read as many books as I should in the last two years and that to me is a problem. My new year’s resolution is to read more books. Now let’s take that and start planning my tangible goal, focusing on the ambition here. To help me break it down to a tangible goal, I’ll ask myself a handful of questions:

How many books do I want to read? -One each month.
What genre of books do I want to read? -Both fiction and nonfiction.
Do I have all desired books to read on hand? -No
Can I read around my busy work schedule? -Yes
Where can I find the best books in this part of the world? -Online if not at the local bookshop.
Do I want to read just English language books? -No

You’d be surprised how much it can expand out and sometimes become a bit complex. The destination is only as great as the journey.

Take out a sheet of blank paper (yes paper, or at least type it out and print it out) to create your goal plan. On top, put your tangible 2017 goal. Underneath that, write your monthly goals towards the main goal of the year. Then again, break down your weekly goals for each month.

This break down is to help you see how you are progressing and what you still need to complete towards your goal. You can even break it down further to daily tasks to achieve the weekly goals towards the main goal. What do I need to do every day to achieve my goal? I need to do some research on the books I have in mind. Go to the local book store. Purchase books online, either physical or digital. Plan out my reading schedule for the week.

Here’s what mine looks like thus far which includes the book I started reading last year.

Put that sheet of paper somewhere visible to you every day. The constant reminder will help you stay on top of your goal plans. Note your daily tasks in your calendar so that you can be reminded of it. Mark off what you’ve completed so you’re motivated to keep going. Missed a task? It’s OK, reschedule it. Didn’t reach your goal for the week? That’s fine, add it on to the rest of the month. Life happens and  you will need to reevaluate those small tasks and weekly goals for feasibility from time to time. These little changes are OK, don’t be bummed out about it. If anything, it’ll help you regain your focus and keep you motivated towards the end goal.

What does Ms. Hala do?

With the sheet of paper up on my fridge, I’m reminded of what my ambition is for the year. My weekly goals and daily tasks are listed in my Google calendar where I’ll get push notifications straight to both my phone and tablet. I even keep a private journal of my main goal for the year and months, note down any changes and progress.

When I started my MBA many years ago, by goal was to graduate by 2010. I had the wallpaper on my phone of my college graduation picture. This motivated me every time I looked at my phone, especially on those frustrating days working on an assignment, of what I was working towards.

What’s your goal for 2017? What’s it going to take for you to achieve it? Will you be working on it past February?

Good luck peeps!

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