Saturday, January 31, 2009

On Resolutions and Goals

I don't usually make New Year Resolutions. If I discover I should be doing something in my life differently, I try to make that change when I notice it, or when it becomes appropriate, not just because the calendar says I need to. For example, I started going to Curves after my O.B. gave me the okay to exercise when James was 6 weeks old. I could have waited until January, with a resolution to "lose weight," but I started in August -- and not to lose weight, but to get healthy and strong.

But even though I don't usually do the whole New Year thing, this year I was thinking about why it's so common for people to fail their resolutions, to lose momentum by February, if not to give up on them altogether. And the best I could come up with is the difference between "resolutions" and "goals." What I mean is something like this --
  • Resolution: to lose weight
  • Goal: to exercise 3 times a week for 30 minutes
  • Resolution: to get organized
  • Goal: to spend 15 minutes per day in one room decluttering
  • Resolution: to save more money
  • Goal: to put away $100 in a savings account each pay

See, resolutions tend to be big, vague, and overwhelming, while goals are small, concrete, and achievable. A person could certainly have a big resolution, but if she doesn't break it down into measureable goals, it's too easy to flounder around and then give up.

For myself, just for fun, I decided at the end of December that my resolution would be "to blog more," with the immediate goal "to post each day in January, except Sundays." Really, I was just curious to see if I could do it. I decided that I would regroup at the end of January to see if I could continue with that goal, or if I should modify it. This is what I learned from this experiment:

  • That I could, indeed, post every day (except Sundays) for a month.
  • That it was tricky -- okay, not possible -- for me to come up with intereresting posts that often.
  • That I enjoy blogging more when I'm not putting myself under pressure to do it.

So for the next month, I'm modifying my goal. I plan to post no less than twice a week for the month of February. That way I'm still accountable to myself to be out there regularly, but I don't have to kill myself coming up with ideas every single day. We'll see what happens this month!


magikjaz said...

HOly carp!!! i have some reading to catch up on!!!

and i tried blog 365 last year - i loved it and hated it (it was blogging everyone day for the entire year) I petered out around the middle of november but i kinda miss it. so next month i'm hoping to up the posts again. it's kinda cathartic for me when i blog.


Debbie said...

My sentiments exactly. I set goals for myself that might change over the course of time. I try to make them manageable. My goal of blogging every day was great except faced with that task my "blog muse" packed her bags and went to the Bahamas leaving me thoughtless. So, now I blog when I want to and if I have something to say and it seems to shake out to be about 5 days a week.

P.S. I left an award for you on my blog.