You’ve probably heard the statistic that 80% of people who set New Year’s resolutions fail to stick to them after six weeks. Why is that?

It turns out it’s all about joy.

Most people set resolutions around things they “should” do rather than things they want to do. Recent research showed that enjoyment was the major factor in whether or not people did what they said they would do.

Let’s get rid of the “shoulds.” No one ever lived an incredible, fulfilling life by choosing again and again to do only what they “should” do. I’m not saying you can bypass everything that feels hard or unpleasant, but there might be a way to wrap it in something that brings you joy. More on that in a moment.

But what is a “resolution” anyway?

The dictionary defines it as “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” A decision, it turns out, is not an action. For many of us, simply deciding to do something doesn’t mean we will. I suggest that we get rid of New Years resolutions in favor of goals.

“Goal” is defined as “a desired result.” It’s so much more specific and actionable than a decision. Setting a goal doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll score it, but it can help you focus your energy and attention. The goal in itself defines success and gives you something to work towards.

Here is an example of the difference between a resolution and a goal.

  • Health-related resolution: I will go running three times a week in 2018.
  • Health-related goal: I complete a 10k race by April 15, 2018.

The desired result of both is to get fit and establish a running routine but isn’t the second one so much more exciting and motivating? To score that goal, you will have to run regularly. You will know you’ve been successful when you complete the race. After you complete the race, you can celebrate and set a new goal to keep yourself running.

So when you look at your 2018, instead of asking “what will I do?” you might ask, “what are the results I am willing to produce?”

To hone your goal-setting skills and get ready to produce some juicy results this year, come to my workshop on 1/17, Your Ultimate 2018.