It’s January. It’s a new year. And so it’s time for the annual ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ lists. Thing is, I don’t like resolutions – I prefer goals. I think the language we use makes a big difference.

RESOLUTION: a firm decision to do (or not to do) something; the quality of being determined or resolute

Making a resolution is simply making a decision. You make your decision (to lose weight, for example) and you’re done. You already feel like you’ve accomplished something, so where is the impetus to carry on? You should just say, “I’ve decided to lose weight this year.” “Great”, say your friends. “Now what?” The problem with resolutions is that simply making a decision does not actually accomplish anything (well, other than making a decision, obviously). You feel good because you feel like you’ve done something, but you haven’t actually done anything.

A goal however, is very active.

GOAL: the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result; the destination of a journey.

A goal, by definition, involves effort and making a journey toward something. Making a goal means you have to decide how to get there. It means having to make an effort – having to reach for something.

A resolution is to join a gym. A goal is to go to a gym an take classes.

A resolution is to join Weight Watchers. A goal is to go every week reach a goal weight.

It’s easy to make resolutions. But this year, take the more proactive route and set goals, instead.

Good luck!

(*There are lots and lots of websites and apps that both tell you how to set goals and how to track and reach them. A simple Google search on ‘Setting Goals’ will give you many.)