1) Goals are concrete
Resolutions are hard to keep because they’re too wishy-washy. It’s like a pie in the sky hope you won’t be able to reach. Goals are better because they’re actually attainable. You have to have a concrete plan to reach goals.
For example, I want to save more money this year vs. I will set aside $50 from each paycheck to build an emergency savings account.
See the difference? Creating a goal forces you to think about the logistics of how you’ll be able to do what you want to do in 2016. Reaching goals takes hard work, planning, and attention to detail.
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2) Goals are harder to break than resolutions
Goals are harder to break than resolutions because they require more planning — and you’re less likely to give up on something you’ve already spent time on. Since setting a goal in motion requires more effort than a fleeting resolution, you might actually be stubborn enough to achieve it.
3) Goals are easier to track
“Out of sight, out of mind.” Resolutions are abstract with no real yardstick to measure success, so it’s easy to stop caring about whether or not you’re making any progress. Since goals have clearly mapped out stepping stones for success, each small victory serves as motivation to keep going.
4) Goals have a deadline
Resolutions are kind of like dreams since they don’t have a timeline. By setting a goal, you’ll have an end date to work towards.
For example, I will be better about paying off my debt in 2016 vs. By June 1 want to pay off $600 worth of credit card debt.
By setting concrete deadlines, you’ll be able to keep yourself in check and on track to be successful in the New Year.
5) Goals come with accountability
Since your goal will have an end date, you’ll know how much progress you’re making throughout the year to reach it. Like with the credit card example above, if you have only paid off $100 of credit card debt by May 1, you’ll know you have some serious catching up to do to stay on track.
If you think you might have trouble keeping yourself accountable, ask a friend to be your goal guardian. Keep them in the loop with what you hope to accomplish and have a monthly Skype or Google Hangout date to talk about what you are or aren’t doing right to reach those goals.
Apps can help you reach your goals
If you aren’t comfortable sharing your goals with a friend, you can turn to technology instead. There are tons of great apps to help with productivity, weight loss, and tracking finances.
StayFocusd helps eliminate distractions so you can do more work when you’re supposed to, while Lose It! counts calories and tracks meals for you. To keep daily tabs on your saving and spending, try the You Need a Budget (YNAB) app. With YNAB, you can add your primary spending account to the app, personalize your budget categories, set a goal, and schedule transactions. So instead of saying, “I want to pay off my credit card” you can set up automatic budgeting to pull from your available funds each month. Intuit’s Mint Money tool is another amazing resource to help you keep tabs on your finance goals.
When you set a concrete goal, put in the time and effort to map out a game plan, and find a way to keep yourself accountable, you can and will accomplish your New Year’s goal!