I've been thinking a lot about New Year's resolutions. Who hasn't, right? I don't know if I really have any resolutions this year. I have goals, certainly, but I'm not sure any of them exactly rise to the level of resolution. In thinking all of this through, I've had to stop and consider the difference between a goal and a resolution and why they feel like different things to me.
I'll start with the definitions. A resolution is "a firm decision to do or not to do something." Some synonyms for resolution are: intention, decision, aim, plan. A goal is "the object of a person's ambition or effort, an aim or desired result." Some synonyms for goal are: objective, aim, intent, plan, purpose. It seems like they are actually words with very similar meanings. In fact, you could say that they mean the same thing. So I guess the difference between the words is a matter of perception.
My perception of a resolution is that it is something that you kind of wish would happen to you. Like every year when people ask you what your resolution is you just throw out some thing that you'd sure like to see happen but don't necessarily have a plan for. On the other hand, a goal is something that is defined, that you have a process for working toward, that you keep in front of you. The best goals have deadlines and plans of action. Goals aren't just thrown out without consideration, they have meaning and thought behind them.
So, I don't really have a New Year's resolution. I do have goals for 2016. Here are some of them.
- Obtain meaningful employment. I am ready to transition back in to the workplace and I think my family is ready too. I don't really know what meaningful employment will look like but this is the year I want to find out. To that end I am applying for jobs, making sure to keep up with goings on in my profession and taking opportunities for professional development as they are available.
- Run 1200 miles. I ran slightly under 1000 miles last year and I plan to increase that this year. I have a running schedule worked out that will get me there.
- Run marathon number 2. I'm holding this goal very loosely. I have a race in mind and I have a training plan all ready to go. But if I do find a job I will shelve the #2 marathon goal for a while. My going back to work will be a big transition for my family and I won't add marathon training to that stress. Obviously I'll keep running but I won't train for 26.2!
- Make strength training a habit. Listen, I hate exercise that isn't running. But I know that working on my strength will make me a better runner. Also, I am a weakling in my upper body and I'd like to remedy that. I'm figuring out what will work for me and have a goal to do strength work twice a week for now.
- Write here 3 times a week. I really like to write and I write in other places (my journal, etc) but I want to make this more of a priority. I'm developing a schedule that will help me make that happen.
- Keep track of the books I read. Every year I start out with the idea that I'll keep track of everything I read. And every year I end up letting that plan fall by the wayside I added the Goodreads app to my phone and I think that will help.
I have a couple of other goals that I'm not going to share here but these are the main things I'm thinking about this year. For now. The good thing about goals is that you don't need a New Year to set them. I'm pretty sure I'll make new goals as the year goes on.