Tuesday, January 6

Goals or resolutions?

I'm a little late in stating my resolutions for the new year. That's probably because it's been years since I've bothered with New Year's resolutions.

I make goals all year-round. I revise old goals as needed, try to undo bad habits and create new, better ones. Why let the calendar dictate when I try to better myself?

Frankly, I agree with I've Paid For This Twice Already: Resolutions are just goals with a fancier name.

But, you say, surely there's no harm in making resolutions for the new year. It's a blank slate. It's inspiring.

Here's the problem though: There is a difference between resolutions and goals in most people's minds.

Goals are long-term. It's expected that you'll stumble -- you'll succumb to that piece of cake despite the diet, spend too much for the perfect pair of shoes, or have a cigarette on a particularly stressful day. You may not be perfect, but then you're expected to get back up, brush yourself off, and get back on track.

Resolutions, though, seem to be made to be broken. It seems to me that the moment people break a resolution, it's a goner. They toss it away with the pointy hats and noisemakers.

One of my big overall projects is to be nicer to myself. And being nicer means less self-criticism, more understanding. It means giving myself permission to not be perfect. (Please don't misunderstand me: I know quite well I'm not perfect. The trick is in accepting that that's okay.)

In that spirit, I don't want to nail down resolutions that are quickly broken or forgotten. I want to set goals.

Goals are something you work toward. They're fluid and can be changed as needed. And, in my mind, it's far more satisfying to reach a goal than to not break a resolution. One is passive. You're winning by not doing something. The other is active and acknowledges that you put in hard work.

So, while I may not have made any resolutions, I have been pondering some of my goals. Here's what I came up with:


My ultimate goal is to get to the point where the blog can bring in a reasonable income. That's a long-term goal, though. In the near future, I need to work on increasing my presence in the blogosphere.

So my goal is to have just about doubled my subscribers by this blog's first anniversary. That means 300. As an alternate measure, I want to average 200 visitors per day.

To this end, I have to pay more attention to blog carnivals and actually commenting on more people's blogs, rather than just reading them. I've been slacking in these areas for the past couple of months.

Personal (physical)

I want to lose weight. I probably should quantify this, as vague goals are unmet goals. But right now, between the cold weather, an extra few pounds from tasty holiday treats, and needing new shoes, my knees have been aching pretty frequently.

Not good.

So, I've got two pairs of new shoes. I'm cutting down my calories. And I need to start taking walks again, now that the weather has stopped icing up the roads.

I want to walk every day, but that's not realistic. So let's say that I will walk at least 3 times a week. By the end of January, I want my clothes to be fitting like they used to. By February, I'd like my pants to have a little slack in them. (I don't use pounds because I lift weights. It's hard to track pounds lost when you are adding muscle.) After February, I'll assess how I did and set more weight goals.

Personal (mental)

Tim is working with me to be sure I don't end up completely out of medications. He calls them in for me, when I alert him that they're low. (It's simple, yes, but I procrastinate about it something fierce!)

On the subject of being nicer to myself, I want to continue learning to lighten the hell up. For someone with a pretty good sense of humor, I am pretty damn uptight. And I'm very naturally self-critical. I'm learning (slowly) to give myself room to be human. But my mind still has fun little tricks. One of its favorites, during downtime, is replaying scenes where I messed up or embarrassed myself in some way.

It's exhausting, it gets me nowhere, and it's gotta go! So this year, I will work on erasing that little mechanism, even if it means I have to occasionally say "Stop!" out loud. (I've had to do it in the past. Try explaining that one to someone sitting in the same room without sounding completely insane.)


Tim's unemployment runs out after May, so it's hard to plan too far into the future. But since we've been able to eradicate $4,000 of debt since mid-June, I'd like to match that for May. Depending on what our tax return is, this may be an easy goal to exceed. But for now, I'm trying not to count too much on any one thing.

So that's it. Those are my big goals for the year. By writing about them, I suppose I've installed you all as my task masters. It's the grand thing about blogging: you get free life coaches.

Now it's your turn: What are you reaching for this year? This quarter? This month?

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Blogger ManicMagic said...

Month: Pay back deck debt

Quarter: I'll follow suit and work on being as nice to myself as I am to others.

Year: I'll go with try to make more responsible purchases w/o having to check to see if it's ok.

January 6, 2009 at 11:43 AM

Blogger Revanche said...

Oh! You do that Replay thing, too? It's pretty awful.

January 6, 2009 at 3:05 PM

Blogger Shevy said...

My financial goals and my learning goal for 2009 are both up on my blog, but my biggest financial goal is to eliminate at least $6,000 of debt (about 1/3 of the total) this year.

I tried to set moderately ambitious but achievable goals and I think I succeeded but I guess time will tell.

I also have a list of long term goals up in a sidebar (these aren't new) and I keep listing one microgoal per goal, updating them as required.

January 6, 2009 at 8:08 PM

Blogger Donna said...

Month: Get my tax paperwork together (complicated, since I have two part-time, self-employed jobs).
Quarter: Work on refining my thesis topic.
Year: Finish school; write a book outline.

January 7, 2009 at 7:50 AM

Blogger Meg said...

What a great way to put it! I definitely think more in the line of goals than resolutions. My big one this year -- and perhaps everywhere -- is to just generally waste less. If I throw out an uneaten cucumber every once in a while or take an extra long shower or go a little brain dead tweeting it's not the end of the world. I just want to adjust my habits and ways of thinking so that everyday I make better use of my resources.

January 11, 2009 at 1:16 PM


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