Goals vs Resolutions

How do we accomplish the changes we want?

Recently my granddaughter and I where on our way to the movies, and we were listening to her favorite radio station. After playing a song, they spent the next 10 minutes talking about New Year’s resolutions.


When they finished, my granddaughter turned to me and asked “Grandmother what are your new year’s resolution?

Well, I told her I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Of course, you know what the next question was, why? So I began to explain the research behind goal setting versus resolutions. She looked at me through her eight year old eyes and said “my resolution is making more friends and do a better job with my homework” and then she began to sing along with the radio. It was like she didn’t hear one word of my eloquent research based explanation.

Of course, like my granddaughter, every year millions of individuals make New Year’s resolutions. According to Newsday magazine, the top five 2015 resolutions were losing weight and exercise more, quit smoking, eat healthier, learn something new, and spend less and save more (2014). According to research by the University of Scranton, only eight percent of people keep their resolution past six months (Newsday, 2014).

So how do we accomplish the changes we want to experience in our lives?

First, we move from resolutions to goals. Why? Resolutions are things we feel that we should change according to University of Texas Arlington (2016). As compared to goals, which are specific and measurable. Second, we need to break down long-term goals into short-term benchmarks.

In his book Intentional Living, John Maxwell encourages us to start small but believe big. To achieve our goals, we must recognize change does not happen overnight. Our success is a result of our daily choices.

When we try to make huge changes overnight, we set ourselves up for failure. Why? Because change often creates fear, uncertainty, and resistance. However, small changes are perceived as achievable therefore they are less threatening.

So how do we start small but believe big?

  1. Start where you are
  2. Start with your one thing
  3. Start watching your words
  4. Start by making small changes (Maxwell)

Success is gained in inches at a time, not miles.
– John Maxwell

Have you developed a plan to implement and achieve your goals for this year? Scroll down and tell me if you have in the comment block…

Your friend,

Dr. Kim Moore


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  • Giovanna

    Hi Kim:
    I enjoyed your article, and oddly enough, I’m in the 8 percent who usually achieve their resolution. I don’t make too many, only one or two really important ones. Since I am naturally a planner, I think my resolutions become intermediate goals by default. I happen to love change and challenge, so whether resolution or goal, I look forward to something better in the New Year. I would like to have my students read and respond to your blog as our opening discussion post. Hope that’s OK. Thanks providing insights that will help the other 92 percent of the population do better in 2016.
    I hope yours is amazing!