Anna Buckley
December 25, 2017 10:00 am
General Photographic Agency / Getty Images

Today in news we have to face: 2018 is fast-approaching. While we’re happy to see 2017 go (good riddance!) we’re also a bit apprehensive to start 2018 — who knows what the year will bring? This uncertainty is why it’s important to set some intentions for positive change in your life come 2018. It’s time to hit the refresh button.

However, it’s also important to not get carried away with overhauling your life come the New Year. The “New Year, New Me” mentality runs the risk of tricking you into forgetting how cool and badass you already are. So here are 5 reasons why it’s better to set *goals* for 2018 rather than ~resolutions~.

1By definition, resolutions are more do-or-die (and therefore intimidating).

This is the common definition of the word resolution: res·o·lu·tion, (noun) 1. a firm decision to do or not to do something; 2. the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter. Meanwhile, this is the definition of the word goal: goal, (noun) 1. the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result; the destination of a journey.

Just by definition alone, a goal sounds more attainable. Instead of setting a “firm” resolution that requires solving, set a goal, which is a part of a “journey” and enjoy the road to reaching a better place in your life.

2 If you don’t meet your resolution by the end of the year, you’ll be angrier with yourself than if you made progress in working toward a goal.

While resolutions seem set in stone, goals are more malleable. Achieving a goal is an entirely different process than meeting a resolution.

For example, I once set a resolution to eat healthier during my sophomore year of college after the whole freshman 15 debacle happened to me. I became a woman obsessed — if I cheated and let myself have ice cream at the dining hall one night, I felt like I’d failed completely and lost my resolve.

Meanwhile, later that year, I decided to instead aim to eat healthy. If I slipped up and had mac and cheese from Panera one night, it didn’t ruin my intention. I could still work towards my goal of eating better tomorrow because I hadn’t broken an ultimate and overarching rule.

3It’s ~about the journey~, not the destination!!

Yes, this is a cliché. But clichés are well-known and over-used for a reason. If you set a resolution, every day will be a battle to uphold that resolution. But if you set a goal, every day will be a journey toward that goal, with ups and downs, good days and bad days.

Come the end of 2018, you’ll be able to look back on your year and think about the progress you made toward your goal and be proud of the work you’ve put in, instead of evaluating whether you did or did not uphold your resolution.

Ultimately, what I’m saying here is that resolutions are like a pass/fail grade, while goals are on an A-F grading scale. Know what I mean?

4If you don’t reach a goal, you can work toward it in 2019, too. Don’t set yourself up to fail when you don’t have to!

Setting yourself up for success in 2018 is one of the most crucial aspects of goal-setting. Obviously, bettering yourself involves challenging yourself, but you also don’t want to force yourself to do anything you simply cannot achieve.

When setting goals, it’s important to consider how you’ll achieve it. What steps you can realistically take to get there? And why are you setting this goal in the first place? If you’re not doing it for you, what are you doing it for?

While a resolution to do something specific in the New Year feels like it must be completed by December 31st, 2018, a goal can be a symbolic finish line that you’re working toward, whether the finish line is December 31st, or a metaphorical point you aim to reach for the rest of your life.

5Judging the success of your self-improvement doesn’t have to begin and end with a calendar year.

Let’s be real: Humans are fallible creatures. Life is hard and sometimes it gets the best of us. Sometimes, the outcomes in our own lives are out of our own control.

But if we believe all of these things to be true, why are we so hard on ourselves when we don’t meet a resolution by the arbitrary deadline of December 31st? It’s better to set a goal, so you can evaluate your progress come the end of the year, rather than write off a failed resolution and give up on it. Life is hard enough without the added pressure from yourself.

While we should all absolutely aspire to our goals and light fires under our asses to achieve them, at the end of the day, and the end of the year, it’s important to show yourself some love for everything you’ve already made happen in your life. It’ll be easier to run the race if you’re also your own cheerleader shouting words of encouragement dutifully from the sidelines.

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