The New Year’s Resolution Conversation

It was the night before 2015. Of course, someone brought up the “So, what is your new years goal?” question. Few said blah. Others said nah. But one friend’s comment stuck in my head.

“I don’t think we should have New Years Resolution. I mean look at all the people who stop going to the gym after February!” His point was that when we set goals for a year, we tend to slack off and procrastinate until the last moment. “By the time October comes, I feel guilty and then just push that goal to the next year,” which means one never gets to fully achieve it. Rather than having a year goal where we set our standards too high, he said we should have many short-term goals. “Science says it takes about 30 days or so for someone to make something into a habit. People should make short-term goals instead of just year goals.” We laughed and then moved on.

But it got me thinking more questions: What is the good way to set up effective goals? How come some people are great at setting up and accomplishing goals while some are not? How do you know you have set up the correct goal when so much could change within few months in one’s life?

I felt challenged. I woke up the next morning and realize I do not have a clear answer to any of these questions. Even as someone who does pretty decent planning and goal setting in general, I felt a bit weird out. Have I set up good goals for my life? Or did I choose goals that society told me was good – a.k.a. the safe goals that I know are good in general?

Goals are subjective. A 2 mile running exercise plan can be good enough for someone, too much for others, and too soft for some hardcore exerciser. We often overlook this aspect. While we have the internet, our friends, our family, and our loved ones sharing good advice, we should ultimately find and understand what goals are good for us. There is so much noise and judgement in this society. Because of that I think we often set up goals that we are told that are good before we think what it really means to us. Yes, carrots are probably healthy for you but instead of just eating carrots we should explore more and find out if we actually like mushrooms more than carrots. Eating carrots isn’t the only way you can get vegetable in your diet. In other words, just because one method or goal worked for someone doesn’t mean it has to be the same for others.

Plus, my friend was right, there aren’t that many who take advantage of setting short-term goals to be more strategic in achieving their long-term goals. While the long-term goal can be staying healthy, one may have a higher chance fulfilling that goal if one planned out smaller goals such as making time to exercise 3-4 times a week for a month or taking time to walk to work instead of driving. These are small changes but an actual step closer toward making a difference in his or her future.

Mush those two elements together we will be able to set up goals that could help us reach to where we want to be at a more realistic pace. Plus, we’ll get to understand who we are better by spending some time reflecting and assessing ourselves. We need to be patient and strategic.

I’m still at the first stage of planning my 2015 goals. But this conversation has got me thinking about this new year resolution in a whole new level. I am going to be more creative this time and I’m excited.

I hope you find goals that are best for your success and joy. Take time with these. Your patience will be worth it. Happy New Year!

Copyright © 2015. Monica H. Kang, All Rights Reserved.