Setting Goals, Not Resolutions

Setting goals will get you closer to who you want to be because they are specific and actionable, where resolutions are vague and unclear.

Setting goals will get you closer to who you want to be because they are specific and actionable, where resolutions are vague and unclear.

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As we move into a new year, the idea of setting resolutions for ourselves is a recurring topic. And for many people, it makes sense to start these new resolutions at the beginning of the year. Much like a Monday is the beginning of a new week, January 1st feels like a natural starting point. Unfortunately, only 25% of people are still actively working on their new years resolutions after 30 days (source).

This is why you should consider setting goals instead of resolutions. The reason behind this is that resolutions tend to be more vague (ie. “I want to lose weight.”) versus goals, which are more specific (ie. “I want to walk 30 minutes a day.”)

But setting goals is only a small part of the process. Every goal we set should guide us towards becoming more of who we want to be.

If your ultimate goal is to become healthier, then the smaller, more measurable goals will be the things that will get you there. For example, ‘go to the gym’ is a good start. ‘Go to the gym 3x a week’ is better. ‘Go to the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday’ is even better than that. And ‘go to the gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7am’ is the best. The more specific you get, the easier it will be to accomplish your goal. It will also help you measure your progress.

Setting goals will get you closer to who you want to be because they are specific and actionable, where resolutions are vague and unclear.

One of the best books I’ve read when it comes to goal setting and habit forming is Atomic Habits by James Clear. He shares a ton of personal experiences and gives actionable tips that make sense. If you are interested in learning more about how to create habits that stick, then I highly recommend Atomic Habits.

As for me, I’ve tried a number of ways over the years to set and accomplish goals. The last couple of years, I’ve chosen a word of the year to help keep me on track. Other years, I’ve divided my goals into categories (mental, physical, etc). However, after reading Atomic Habits, my approach for 2021 has changed.

In an attempt to become more of who I want to be, I am setting some smaller, more specific goals. I recently listened to the Happier podcast by Gretchen Rubin and she and her sister shared about how they created a 20 in 2020 list. They then encouraged their listeners to create a 21 in 2021 list. This inspired me and so I wanted to share my list with you!

Setting Goals: 21 in 2021

  1. Learn how to use a saw
  2. Cook my way through an entire cookbook (Cake Confidence by Baking with Blondie)
  3. Bike 100 miles
  4. Visit a national park
  5. Become Zumba certified
  6. Write one thank you/just because card once a week.
  7. Read 21 books I’ve never read
  8. Research what I need to do to get my CFLE (Certified Family Life Educator) certificate
  9. Start a meditation practice
  10. Ride/Drive a wave runner
  11. Go on 10 different hikes
  12. Go to a women’s retreat
  13. Improve my hand lettering
  14. Go horseback riding
  15. Do a 30 day photography challenge
  16. Visit Nashville
  17. Compliment/Connect with someone each time I leave the house
  18. Get outside every day
  19. Finish 5 wood craft decor items from stash
  20. Repeat positive affirmations every day
  21. Establish a consistent morning routine

What a goal you would put on your 21 in 2021 list? I’d love to hear about it. And feel free to share more than one if you want to!


Hi! I’m Shani,

A stay-at-home mom of 4 and wife. I love sharing easy to follow craft tutorials, kid activities, family-friendly recipes, organization, travel and motherhood. I hope you’ll feel uplifted and empowered by each post, regardless of what kind it is. Join me as I raise my little munchkins and share the sunshine in this beautiful, crazy thing called life! Read more...

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