I don’t make resolutions, but I do set goals.
Hmm, aren’t “resolutions” and “goals” two words for the same thing?
Resolutions: a firm decision to do or not do something.
Goals: the object of a person’s effort; an aim or desired result.
So, yes, “resolutions” and “goals” may be interchangeable. Maybe I’m mincing words, engaging in a little word play. But word play is exactly how I spend a lot of my time and effort. Word play works for me, and when it comes to making progress, it might work for you, too.
I choose my words carefully, and science validates just why this matters. Researchers studying people who made resolutions found that among those who worded their resolutions positively (“I want to start running”), 59% stuck to it. Among those who worded their resolutions negatively (“I want to quit watching so much TV”), only 47% stuck to it.
Another study of people similarly motivated to improve their habits found that those who set goals stuck to them at a rate of 42%, while just 4% of those who had vague intentions saw improvement.
What we say and how we say it can help us make progress.
The word “resolutions” strikes my ears negatively. “Firm decision” also feels harsh. “Aim or desired result,” however, feels positive. I’m choosing positive words to effect positive change.
Last year I made a Not 20 for 2020 list of goals, including aims such as drinking more water and completing several writing projects. While I didn’t manage everything on my list (too many goals, some unmeasurable), I crushed my water goal and surprised myself with my writing progress. Setting positive intentions set me on a course to develop healthy habits.
This year I made a simple chart with fewer goals and a box for every day of the month. I stuck it in my planner where I will see it everyday. Most of my goals are meant to be achieved daily, like walking; some I intend to fit in a few times a week, like yoga. But I can already see progress in every area as I check off my boxes day after day.
Because progress, not perfection, is the goal. Progress = positive. Perfection = unattainable. Again, I’m emphasizing the positives in words and actions. I won’t check off every box every day, but as I check off most boxes most days I know I’m heading in the right direction.
This is Day 2 of a 7-day writing challenge with Hope*Writers. Today’s prompt is Progress. Follow my Instagram for more.