Resolve To Set Fluid Goals

Let’s dig into those resolutions you made or didn’t make leading up to January 1st.

I think today is the perfect day for it – January 11th. Halfway through the second week of 2019!

Whether you are on the resolution bandwagon or not, you have thought about the trend we see every new year. You have probably done it in years past, and you probably are doing it now whether you’re calling it that or not.

When I was explaining resolutions to my 5th graders this year, it hit me that we don’t do a good job of explaining the difference between resolutions and goals. We don’t teach our kids how to make resolutions that stick, because we are neglecting the fact that the setting of goals is the pathway for our resolution to have effect.

Resolutions are generalized statements of things we resolve to do. For example: I resolve to read more books in 2019.

Goals are specific and measurable statements of intent. For example: I will read 19 books in 2019.

What I have embraced this year is a fluidity that binds our goals to our resolutions – not so we can keep score, but so that we can structure meaningful lives around meaningful habits.

It has been fascinating to me this year to watch post after post of people bucking the resolution trend.

I get what they are trying to do. Statements like “New year, same me” as opposed to “New year, new me” make sense to me on some levels. The self love and self care movement are huge right now, and it’s great. I am totally here for it.

The idea, though, that resolving to do and be better means we don’t love ourselves is ABSURD.

Making resolutions for a new year does not mean you don’t love yourself.

Setting goals for a new year does not mean you believe yourself to have failed in the previous year.

Rather, the making of resolutions and the setting of goals is a fluid process of restructuring our lives to align with the best version of our minds, bodies, and souls.

We can’t resolve to live healthier without practical goals along the way.

There was a reason that you weren’t eating healthy or moving enough the last 365 days. What was it? What do you need to do to shift it? Was it time? Do you need to set a goal of carving time? Of saying no to others?

We can’t resolve to read more without setting goals of how to make that happen.

There was a reason that you didn’t read as much as you wanted to in 2018. Was it stress? Busyness? Disinterest? What do you need to do to shift this? Do you need to set a goal of creating a book list each month? Of creating a safe space for reading?

Resolve is huge – but it isn’t really active. The things we resolve to do do not just happen. Goals help to make our resolve stick.

It has been hugely freeing for me to view my goals and resolutions as fluid, rather than as a set-list for how things will go.

Last year around this time, I started a workout program that was meant to last 80 days. I resolved to do it, and I set practical goals. I made it through it and because that resolve stuck – I continued.

When I sat to think about entering a new year I decided on 5 habits I wanted to cultivate. 5 resolutions with practical goals to  make them stick.

Here are my 5 habits (and I’m using this tracker):

  1. Workout
  2. Eat clean
  3. Write for 20 minutes
  4. Read for 20 minutes
  5. Have an intentional 30 minute conversation with my husband

It’s fascinating to me to track this.

What I noticed first is that my resolve from last year is still stuck fast. The one habit that has happened every day of January is working out! BOOM! But, I’m 11 days in and there are also huge holes in my goals. Eating clean I’ve been able to mark down only 3 days. Writing hasn’t happened most days and reading has been sporadic. The conversations with my husband are embarrassingly lacking, and I’m excited to set better goals for how to make them happen.

Our resolve is strong, but life can sweep that away without us even realizing it. It’s embracing and utilizing flexible and fluid goals that make resolutions meaningful and lasting.

So. There’s that. I hope that in this season of resolution you find yourself honoring your mind, body, and soul by cultivating healthy habits. Don’t compare yourself to a standard set by other’s goals and resolutions. Get to know yourself (maybe that’s a good resolve to start with.. set some goals.. track your current habits..)

Keep pushing for your health, friends.