Monday, January 7, 2013

Resolutions or Goals?

Ah, the ever popular "New Year's Resolution" post! I read another blogger recently who said she preferred "goals" over "resolutions." After thinking about it, I heartily agree with her. Resolutions are concrete, unshakeable decisions that MUST happen in their entirety to be considered a success (government being a notable exception-in-denial).

On the other hand, a goal is something that you have chosen to move toward in the coming year. It is something you want and have chosen to pursue. Your year can be seen as a success so long as you have actively PURSUED your goal. If you achieve it, hooray for you! But life was not designed to function within 1 year increments. If your "resolution" is to lose 50 lbs and you only lose thirty, you failed your resolution. Those hard-fought 30 lbs are inadequate, because you failed in your "resolve." BUT, if your GOAL is to lose 50 and you make it to 30, then you have made terrific progress!

Yes, many people see success in what they accomplished, but they still know that their resolution was unfulfilled. Despite the concreteness of their resolve in January, by November they have redefined the word "resolution" to mean: "a good idea I had while drinking champagne and wearing a party hat."

Perhaps this is just semantics, but I also see it as realism. I KNOW I'm not going to be perfect at maintaining house this year, much less this month. I want to strive for it, but why put the unneeded pressure on myself to achieve perfection? I will become frustrated and angry as I fight against my flaws. I am an imperfect being. But, the greatest mark of a person is to always yearn for and seek out perfection.

Some people reject the idea of a New Year resolution BECAUSE they fail every year. I think this is very unfortunate. Humans love nothing more than to chase after something. However, many people give up chasing because they are already convinced they will fail. We cannot grow if we never risk failure.

I want to be MORE than what I am, and yet I also know that I fail daily. How can I overcome this? One way is to focus not just on the end goal, but on the CHASE! Part of the thrill of love is to pursue your beloved. If we embraced our yearly goals the same way, we could see ourselves grow in incredible ways! We would learn the lessons of perseverance, patience, determination, ingenuity, humility, and many more. Each lesson refines us from WITHIN, and each one gives us the strength and skill to continue. I may not keep a perfect house by next January, but I pray that I will be at least one step closer. And really, isn't being one step closer better than never even trying?

In short, I think that calling it a resolution is to say: "I WILL achieve you!" However when I have a goal, I say: "I want you, and I'm willing to pursue you for as long as it takes to finally embrace you!" Doesn't that sound far more attainable, not to mention happier, than the resolution? Despite acknowledging that we will frequently struggle, we embrace the challenge with passion! It is no longer a fight, but a dance!

And now, I am off to make myself a small list of GOALS for this coming year. Well, perhaps I'll make it after I clean something. It can be one of the things I get to cross off the list as soon as I write it down. I love those.

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