Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Resolutions versus Goals

Do you make resolutions?

I've made exactly one that I have stuck to. In my entire life. Ever. I'm posting about that tomorrow.

So, since I've stuck to one resolution in thirty-four and a half years (ahem, I mean twenty-five), I'm resolving to not make a resolution. (Har, har, har. So original.)

Beau and I exchanged a few emails while he was hard at work on New Year's Day in which we laid out some goals and plans for the year. (Travel! Family! Home!)

I like that approach. See, resolutions leave room for failure. I resolve to lose weight, get in shape, eat better, blah, blah, blah. Then, at some point when that doesn't happen or the resolver slips, poof, failure. With that failure comes the sense of finality. "Welp, I was going to give up chocolate*, but I slipped up and ate the entire bag of dark chocolate Ghirardelli chocolate chips**. Oh, well. It was a nice idea. Maybe next year..."

So you think my goals and plans/resolution theory sounds like fancy semantics, huh? Perhaps that's true. Perhaps I'm saying tah-mato and the rest of the world is saying toh-mato. To me, though, a goal or a plan implies a work in progress and a resolution is a formal objective or endpoint that isn't concerned with the process.

Take this for example: "I resolve to be the best mom I can be" versus "my goal is to be the best mom I can be".

What happens when I screw up? At some point in the next year Little Man will fall or get his first bruise or I'll forget to pack his favorite blanket on a trip or I'll let him down in some way. And I'll have not been the best mom I could be. In some way he will experience pain or disappointment on my watch. And my resolution will have been for naught. Slap a big, fat, red F on that resolution, I'll have failed in that moment.

But my goal to be the best mom I can be leaves room for growth. I don't have to be perfect every day, I'm working toward and end goal that allows for a skinned knee, bruise, or forgotten blanket. Obviously, I don't want skinned knees or any other life calamities, but life happens. At the end of the year I'll be able to look back at the entirety of the year and I'll (hopefully) see that I've reached my goal.

As Beau and I look at the year ahead of us, we know that there will be speed bumps and set-backs, bruises and lost blankets. We are also looking forward to the journey ahead. And packing Kleenex.

Do you make resolutions? Goals? Do you see the difference or am I nutty?

* I do not support this. Ever.
**Who does that? Must be some of Amy's classic hyperbole.

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