Resolutions are the worst. They are made to be broken. They imply impending failure rather than achievement. They focus solely on the result, ignoring the planning and thought process that is most important.
Goals are what your resolutions should be, especially if they are SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
A common resolution is to lose weight, often to a specific number. The scale becomes an instrument of dreadfulness. When you find yourself not on track to meet that number, you allow guilt and failure to rule your mind. If you set a goal correctly, you can allow for failure as a normal process. Failure shouldn’t mean the end of what you do, it should be noted as something that happens.
Failure allows you to reassess and modify your goal moving forward. It allows you to examine your diet and exercise. You may find you are consuming more calories daily than you expected, or you may look at your exercise routine and realize you need more to meet your goal. When you make a resolution, failure is the end of the road. If you make the right kinds of goals, you take failure as a momentary plateau on the way to success.
This was relevant to me this morning when I stood on the scale like many people and wasn’t quite happy with what I saw. I made a lot of progress in my health in 2014, and I feel I am halfway to where I want to be. I spent part of the morning looking at what I can do to tighten up my routine. I have a set of adjustments that I think will help, and with a plan to stick to it, I think I can get over the plateau I am stuck at.
That’s the beauty of making goals, not resolutions.
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.