Setting Goals versus Making Resolutions

Setting Goals versus Making Resolutions

The new year is here!  Whether 2022 was good for you or not, the new year is a chance to clean the slate and start afresh. Traditionally this is when we are supposed to be setting goals or making New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps you have written some down or at least thought of what you would like to make better for your business and your life in 2023.

But should you be making resolutions or setting goals? You may ask, “But aren’t they the same thing?”  That could depend on your viewpoint. Let’s look at each one and compare them.


Definition of a resolution from Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary:

“A resolution is a definite decision to do or not to do something.”

Here are some of the top resolutions for 2023 from surveys by Forbes Health:

Forbes Health Chart showing New Years resolutions by age

While the above statistics are interesting, most of the resolutions do not have a definitive goal. What are the chances of someone accomplishing their New Year’s resolutions if they have not stated the goal?

Let’s take the example of “lose weight” from above. The New Year’s comes around, and a person resolves they will lose weight this year. But they do not set any goals, and they do not keep track of their progress. They start the year being really “resolved” about losing weight. But they have yet to decide how much weight they will lose and how they will accomplish the weight loss. How much weight do you think they will have lost by the end of the year? Probably, not much, if any.

Setting Goals

Definition of Goal from Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary

“A goal is something that you hope to achieve.”

The difference between a goal and a resolution is subtle. But if the same person in the weight loss example above sets a goal such as losing 10 pounds, they have now specifically named what they want to achieve. There is no guarantee that they will reach the goal, but now they can work out steps and gradients to accomplish it.

You can take any resolution and turn it into a goal simply by naming the exact product or end result you want to achieve.

Why must you set goals?

What is more exhilarating – the challenges you face and overcome while achieving your goal or the condition of having achieved it? If you thought it was the excitement and game of overcoming the obstacles to achieving that goal, you guessed right.

Every athlete can tell you that once they have achieved a goal, they begin to decline if they do not set a new one.  Why is that? Because there must always be a new game, a new challenge, and new barriers to overcome! That is the game of life!

If you have pets, you have probably observed this phenomenon in them too. When you throw a ball for a dog, is he more excited about chasing it or catching it?  Once he has caught the ball, is he happy, or does he want you to throw it again? When you play with a cat using a toy on the end of a string, what happens after you let them catch it and it doesn’t move anymore?  They lose interest, become bored, and walk away to find something else to do.

Setting goals and working toward accomplishing them keeps a person lively and interested in life! Those without goals will eventually become bored or apathetic about living. You probably have observed examples of this in some people at some time in your life.

How high should you set your goals?

San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome Italy Michelangelo

San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome Italy Michelangelo

There is a trick to setting goals. You do not want to place them so high that they are virtually unachievable. On the other hand, you do not want to put them so low that there is no challenge to achieving them. I think the quote below from Michelangelo says it well:

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.”  – Michelangelo

Final Words

For every man to live and have some excitement in life, he needs to set goals and work hard at achieving them. But there is no shame in getting assistance from those around you if you encounter barriers difficult to overcome.

International Executive Technology is a team of professionals who are experts in helping business owners resolve barriers to accomplishing their goals. We offer a free business analysis that will isolate the areas in your business that are slowing or blocking your progress toward achieving your goals. And we have helped many business owners in their life as well! We invite you to fill out our free business analysis questionnaire.

We hope you set some high, yet attainable goals and accomplish them in 2023!


Rohn Walker
International Executive Technology

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