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Goals Over Resolutions

Updated: Apr 10, 2020

New Year! New You!
We’ll help you shed those holiday pounds!
Start the New Year off right!

The gym and diet ads are everywhere this time of year, aren’t they? As we barrel into the new year, resolutions are a common topic of conversation. Many of the most popular ones are about making huge, sweeping, fundamental changes.

“I’m going to lose weight”
“I’m going to save more money”
“I’m going to go to the gym every day”

Do these sound familiar? Maybe you've set one as a resolution previously?

Often, most resolutions are broken before the end of January. The gyms empty out. People forget about saving money. The diets are too restrictive, too hard to follow, and the foods you’ve banished sneak back in.

So this year let’s reframe - Don’t make a resolution this year. Instead, set a goal!

Now, you may wonder, “What’s the difference?” Words matter, though. And we think of “resolutions” and “goals” as two different things.

  • Resolutions tend to make us think they’re one time things. You break it, and it’s over. There’s no point to starting back up until next January 1st .

  • A goal can be (and should be) managed in steps, and if you take a step back, it’s only that, a step back. It’s not the end of striving towards the goal. You can regain that step.

Resolutions tend to be about one way of fixing a problem. Goals are about finding the best way to fix a problem. This is a more positive way of looking at things.

For example: “I resolve to go to the gym everyday” can easily become “My goal is to live a healthier life”. If your resolution is to go to the gym, and you have to cut that out of your budget in March, you’re going to feel like you’ve failed. If your goal is to live a healthier life, there are gym substitutes you can find, such as an evening walk.

Resolutions tend to be a beginning of the year thing. You think about it on January 1st , but don’t think you can start another one in the middle of the year. You can start a goal any time. January 1st - Your birthday - Tomorrow! And you can restart that goal anytime. There’s no “failing” a goal. There’s steps forward, steps back, and the occasional plateau, but no failure. That goal can be restarted anytime, as well!

Do you need to change your goal halfway through? Is your original goal not working? The good news is, goals aren’t written in stone, they can be changed to accommodate your new needs and situations. Don’t make January more stressful than it needs to be. Let go of the idea of resolutions starting the day after one of the biggest party nights of the year. Embrace the idea of goals that can be started and changed at any time.

If you must make a resolution, I hope you’ll make it your goal to be kinder to yourself this year.

May 2020 see you healthy, happy, and safe!


Maria Laquerre is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, who specializes in addressing trauma with clients of all ages. Maria has practiced therapy in New Mexico since her return in 2008. Maria's current passion is supporting therapists in doing their best clinical work, which she pursues through offering supervision, consultation and trainings. Maria enjoys spending time with her family, watching Star Wars and Marvel movies, discussing the psychology of pop culture and loves a good book!

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