The idea of new year’s resolutions goes all the way back to the ancient Babylonians. They would make promises to their gods at the beginning of their new year. And it seems like the idea has stuck. Four thousand years later, our promises and commitments of how we’re going to change still tends to dominate the conversation at parties this time of year.
However, does it work? How often do we stick with our new year’s resolutions? For most of us, its pretty hit and miss at best. Maybe this year, instead of focusing on a new year’s resolution, you can focus on dreams, goals and habits instead.
I define them in this way:
- A dream is something you’d like to accomplish at some point in life. For example, “I’d like to write a book” or “I’d love to take a trip to India.” They can be something just around the corner or something that might take several years to work up to. In my opinion, the best goals are the ones that are just out of reach at the present moment. If you can put an easy timeline and deadline to it without second-guessing whether or not you can accomplish it, its probably not a big enough dream. Its probably more of a goal.
- A goal is a dream with a deadline. In other words, a goal is a dream that has been made specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. For example, “I’d like to save up $1,000 towards my trip to India by June 1 of this year.”
- A habit is a daily or weekly activity that helps one accomplish their goals. For example, “I’m going to take my lunch to work 3 days a week, and put that money towards my India trip instead.” A habit helps put structure around a goal, making it more attainable.
Maybe instead of a resolution, we need to spend more time dreaming about what we want out of life. If we take those dreams and start turning them into goals and habits, I bet we could resolve to accomplish a lot this year.
Eric McClerren, CIT
emcclerren @ growcounseling.com