Goal-Setting is Better than Making Resolutions

Goal-Setting is Better than Making Resolutions

  • Posted by Stephen White
  • On January 2, 2018
  • goal-setting, new beginnings, New Year's goals, New Year's Resolutions, setting goals


Happy New Year!  You know it’s the New Year because the gyms are filled with people you’ve never seen before, smokers are trying to quit the habit, everyone is talking about losing weight, and all your friends and co-workers are on their best behaviour.  Unfortunately, this trend will only last for a couple of weeks, and then everything will revert back to the way it was.  For many, New Year’s goal-setting would have been a better strategy than making resolutions.

After the celebration it’s time for those New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions are a Waste of Time

Why?  The answer is really simple.  New Year’s Resolutions are an absolute, complete waste of time.  Sorry, but they are!  They are a waste because simply enunciating a desired change doesn’t, in and of itself, make it happen.

5 Important Factors in Goal Setting

To be successful any behavioral change has to have five things:

  1. A clearly articulated, desired goal.
  2. A list of clear steps to make that goal a reality.
  3. Specific criteria for each step by which you will measure your success in achieving your goal.
  4. A timeframe both for completing the steps and realizing the goal; and finally,
  5. The kind of financial commitments you will commit in order to realize the goal.

A Practical Example

Let’s say you have decided you want to find a new job.  For various reasons, you believe your present position is no longer suitable, and you decide you need something different.  That can be your goal, but what you need to think through first is what kind of position you want.  What is the job title?  Where will it be located?  What type of remuneration are you seeking?

Saying you want to find a new position in Accounting is significantly different from saying you want to find a position as a Financial Cost Accountant in a medium-sized organization in downtown Toronto paying at least $65,000 per year.

If that is your goal, then what steps will you take to achieve it?  These steps could include:  applying for Financial Cost Accountant positions online, updating your Linked In Profile to make it more appealing to prospective employers, networking with friends and colleagues, etc.

Having specific criteria to measure your success is critical to your objective.  That criteria could include:  applying for at least 10 positions a week, arranging for 3 networking meetings weekly, registering with 5 search firms each month, etc.  The eventual achievement of your goal will be determined by a series of smaller steps and initiatives you make.

Success is not instantaneous.  Many people fail to achieve it because they expect immediate gratification.  Attaining success can take time, but in pursuit of your goal you need to set realistic timeframes on when you will not only complete your steps but also, realize your goal.

Having people, infrastructure or technology to achieve your goal is important, but so too are financial resources.  Being prepared to make that financial commitment can sometimes make the difference between success and failure.

Putting It Together

When you put it together that New Year’s Resolution takes on the shape of a goal that has both meaningful and substantive and looks something like this:

Goal Steps to Achieve the Goal Success Criteria Timeframe to Implement Financial Resources Required
To find a position as a Financial Cost Accountant by June 2018 in a medium-sized position in downtown Toronto paying at least $65,000 per year. Apply for Financial Cost Accounting positions online. Apply for at least 10 positions a week. Jun-18 N/A
Updating Linked In Profile. Update the profile with new content to make it more appealing to recruiters. Jan-18 Register for a premium account
Networking with friends and colleagues. Arrange 3 weekly networking meetings with important contacts. Jun-18 Lunch expenses
Register with search firms specializing in accounting positions. Register with 5 search firms monthly. Mar-18 N/A

New Year’s Resolutions are often plentiful and well-intentioned, but the results are usually disappointing

What happens if success isn’t achieved by June 2018?  Here are some ideas:

  1. Re-assess your experiences to see if all steps were completed.
  2. Re-evaluate what did and did not work well in your job search.
  3. Seek additional feedback from a trusted friend or colleague, and ask them for their assessment;
  4. Finally, re-set your goal and fine tune the steps, success criteria, timeframe to implement and financial resources required.


Remember:  Life is not a 440 yard dash but rather, a marathon.  Most goals in life, like fine wine and good art, often take time to achieve.  The advantage of setting New Year’s Goals rather than Resolutions is that one slip, failing or shortcoming does not undermine or negate the overall objective.




Leave Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.