If you’re like most people, you’ve come up with more than a few resolutions in your lifetime. You have probably also realized that many resolutions fall to the wayside as the newness of another year fades. Wanting to change but failing to do so can make you feel discouraged, disheartened, and hopeless. Luckily, you don’t have to set resolutions at the beginning of a new year in order to evoke positive change in your life. You can set goals instead. Even though resolutions and goals help promote positive change, research shows that setting goals are typically more powerful than creating resolutions.
Goal-setting can be particularly powerful when you're overcoming addiction. By understanding how to set measurable and actionable goals, you can increase the likelihood that your recovery will be sustainable and long-lasting. In this article, we're going to explore the difference between resolutions and goals and why goal-setting is so important in long-term recovery.
The dictionary defines a resolution as “a firm decision to do or not do something.” Common synonyms for resolution include:
In many ways, a resolution is something we hope for and decide to do.
A goal, according to the dictionary, is “the object of a person’s ambition or effort.” A goal is also defined as “an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envision, plan, and commit to achieve.” Popular synonyms for goal include:
Even though the definitions of resolutions and goals are similar, goals are defined by something that a resolution lacks, that is, ambition or effort. In other words, resolutions are statements of intention, whereas goals are commitments that require action. Those aren’t the only differences between goals and resolutions. Other differences include:
Having dreams and desiring positive change are wonderful signs of growth and maturity, but if you actually want to achieve your desired outcome, set goals. They’re more powerful, realistic, and action-oriented than resolutions. This is especially true when you’re recovering from addiction.
You may not be aware of this fact, but 80% of New Year's resolutions fail. Though sobering, this statistic doesn’t mean that making positive change is impossible to do. We can all change. We just need to understand how change happens. A landmark Harvard Business study revealed that people with goals are 10 times more likely to succeed than those without.
The study also revealed that:
Here’s why experts believe that goal setting will continue to be more powerful than resolutions in 2021.
Resolutions, though positive and uplifting, are typically vague intention statements. Common resolutions such as “I’m going to get in shape,” “I will eat healthier,” or “I’m going to drink less” are vague. What do “in shape,” healthier,” or “drinking less” actually mean? Each of these statements can mean a wide range of different things, leaving you disconnected from your actual intentions.
Goals, on the other hand, are specific. When you’re specific about what you want to do, maintaining that specific aim becomes easier. Think of it this way: your resolution may be to attend a peer support group this year. That’s an amazing intention, but a relatable, specific goal might be to attend a local Alcoholic Anonymous meeting every Wednesday for 6 months. The resolution includes the “what,” but the goal encompasses the “what,” “when,” “where,” and “how often,” which makes the goal more realistic and attainable.
Resolutions focus on an act or feat you want to achieve, while goals focus on the effort needed to accomplish the venture you had in mind. Simply put, goals make resolutions possible. When you set goals, you can break down larger, vague resolutions into step-by-step plans that can help you accomplish the purpose you have in mind. This plan can be broken down into milestones that eventually add up to your desired outcome. Consider the goal of overcoming a traumatic memory that triggers cravings, for example. Your goals, broken down into milestones, might look like:
These milestones might take time to accomplish, but every achievement means progress toward your main goal of overcoming that traumatic memory that triggers a craving for drugs or alcohol. In the same way, accomplishing that goal can help make a resolution such as “feel less anxious” possible.
Goals are also more powerful than resolutions when they are SMART, an acronym that means your goals should be:
Here at Genesis Recovery, our mission is to help restore lives affected by addiction. Our community-oriented approach to recovery can help you accomplish goals that make you proud. We can help you:
Let us help you get there. Contact us today to learn more.