New Year's or not, I haven't made any resolutions in many, many years. Given that only 12% of New Year's resolutions are actually kept, it's a wonder anyone bothers making them at all. Yet, people do.
That's not to say I don't have goals; the distinction is important. Their definitions:
goal (noun): the state of affairs that a plan is intended to achieve and that (when achieved) terminates behavior intended to achieve it
resolution (noun): a decision to do something or to behave in a certain manner
A resolution is therefore a change in behavior. A goal is a task requiring completion.
Although my wife would be quick to argue this point, I don't need any behavioral changes. What I do need are goals.
David Stoddard in his post New Year's Goals - Yes (Resolutions - Not So Much) would seem to agree. He says:
I've done the goal setting things in the past. I heard of the studies where only the successful 3% have goals written down. I had ideas of what I wanted to accomplish. But for differing reasons, I didn't always reach them as often as I would have liked. Some were just ideas which stayed ideas. Others I worked at didn't turn out as planned.
Resolutions don't work. Maybe it's because we're too stubborn, or because we believe we can't change. Or maybe we're just too set in our ways.
None of that matters.
The only thing that really matters is that we set out to do something and then go do it. This is where goals come in.
David goes on to list a number of "must's" for goals, which must be:
I would sum those up as "do-able". Only you can determine if a goal is do-able. Also, what might be do-able for one person may not be for another. But you have to start somewhere, and setting goals is the first step.
I'm working on my own writing and blogging goals for 2009 in another post. It should go up soon. I would encourage others to do the same. I haven't done this before, so I have no last year's post to reference to see if I achieved my 2008 goals. This time next year, though, I plan to revisit this subject and see how I did in 2009.