Resolutions vs goals, plans, intentions

It seems somewhat unseemly to have a blog and not post this week about New Year’s Resolutions. In fact it’s probably against some law or other. So: New Year’s Resolutions. Do you make them?

I don’t. At least, not in the traditional sense. I don’t sit down on 1st January and write a list of things I want to do less of, stop doing completely, or wrestle with in the coming 12 months. As I read somewhere this week, New Year’s Resolutions can become a to-do list for the first week of January. That’s not what I want.

What I do is this:

– intentions, not resolutions. For the year, I have one or two major goals. And they are intentions, not resolutions. I will do them. I don’t just resolve to.
– monthly goals. I find it more manageable, and actually more useful, to break the year down. It’s certainly more measurable. So, every month, I set myself some challenges, some goals and some things to do. They can be tailored to the time of year and to what’s in my calendar that month. For example, one of January’s goals is to get outside with the dog every single day, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. That will be a challenge in January, but it wouldn’t be in July. It will also bring me a lot more benefit in January than it will in July (hello, vitamin D!)
– make them measurable, specific and linked to a date. Not for me the wishy-washy “do more gardening”. My goals are very specific, linked to an actual date where relevant, and completely measurable. (Although some are still to do with gardening. Have you seen our garden?!)
– positive language, positive goals . I make all my goals positive, going “to” something rather than “from” it. I believe there’s a way in which any goal/plan/resolution could be spun this way, and I think it’s crucial to success. So, not “must stop biting fingers and twiddling hair” (although goodness knows that would be a good thing for me) or “must drink fewer cups of coffee”. My goals are things I will do more of, do better at, or achieve for the first time.
– visualise. I’m big on visualisation. If you can imagine it, you can do it. I like mood boards (or whatever you want to call them), packed with pictures, quotes and other inspiring bits and bobs. I only do these for my one or two major goals for the year. I recently read this and thought it was excellent – I’m not sure I have time to do it to the extent that this blogger goes to, but it’s a fantastic idea.

How about you? Annual goals, monthly ones? When do you make them? Or do you not make goals at all? (nothing wrong with that but I can’t ever imagine being without a goal or two). Are you a list/calendar/mood board person?


7 Responses to Resolutions vs goals, plans, intentions

  1. Just Jj says:

    Excellent, Nic. Excellent in that your approach is very similar to mine. 🙂
    I’ve always called them ‘plans’, and since I was a child I’ve shied away from telling myself NOT to do something, preferring to encourage myself to DO something positive.
    I’m also a firm believer in the Reset Button…


    • thefitwriter says:

      And that is why you were a wonderful unofficial mentor to me when I first started freelancing. Even if you didn’t know it at the time! (That you were being a mentor, not that you were being wonderful! 😉 )


  2. Adam Farrah says:

    Glad you liked the article, Nicola! BTW, it took a LONG time to get it to the point you saw in the video. And I cut A LOT of the personal stuff out for the post – my actual doc is about TWICE what you saw!

    Just little bits at a time. A few minutes here, an hour there, paste a pic another time. It all adds up!



    • thefitwriter says:

      Hi Adam, thanks for the comment! Yes, I can see how a bit of time here and there would help it all add up – ideal for major, long-term goals. It would certainly suit my main goal of 2011. So, I’ll make a start – thanks 🙂 Nic


  3. Shambler says:

    Hi! Yes, an excellent post, Nic and, like Jj I, too, am very fond of the Reset Button.

    I don’t make resolutions but I have decided that there are some things I want to do over the next 12 months. They are in all different areas of my life and will take different amounts of time – by the end of this week a plan will have been outlined……EEEK!

    Also, I think it’s OK to modify your goals/challenges/plans as you go. It may be that if you’re starting something very new to you, you may not know what’s realistic so you may need to scale up or down and that’s fine – nothing’s set in stone!

    And, Nic – you were a complete inspiration to me over New Year, thank you! x


    • thefitwriter says:

      Hey Jo 🙂

      Exciting stuff – would love to hear about some of your goals if you feel able to share. Maybe over a dog walk some time? And yes I agree goals need to be flexible – not as a get-out clause, but so they can be realistic and also so they don’t end up being unwanted pressure!

      As for being an inspiration, well – thanks! Thanks so much for helping me train over NY XX


  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sarah Maxwell. Sarah Maxwell said: RT @thefitwriter: How do you make goals for the New Year? Here's my take on it all […]


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