April Jeppson: The difference between resolutions and goals

Published 8:45 pm Friday, December 29, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Every Little Thing by April Jeppson

Tis the season for resolutions and goals. I actually had to look up the difference between the two words. When people are discussing the new year, they tend to use these words interchangeably.

April Jeppson

A resolution is a statement of what you want to change. A goal is a statement of what you want to achieve, the steps you need to take to achieve it and when you want to achieve it.

Email newsletter signup

It’s the difference between wanting a higher balance in your savings account and figuring out that you want to contribute $50 from each paycheck next year.

To me, a resolution is almost a wish. It’s hopeful. It is the recognition that something needs to be done differently and then making a proclamation that you’re going to make changes. It’s empowering. When you make a resolution, especially a New Year’s resolution, you don’t go into it thinking you’ll fail.

You’re making a promise to yourself to do better this year.

Goals aren’t as warm and fuzzy. When you set a goal, there are parameters that help you gauge your success. These same parameters also help you gauge your shortcomings. A quality goal will be achievable as long as consistent effort is applied over a set period of time. There’s almost a scientific formula for it.

I make resolutions to do better in various areas of my life throughout the year. Usually these are preceded by revelations I’ve had about myself and the way I do things. When I realized I was overextending myself, I made a resolution to say “no” more often. When I realized I was more concerned about the happiness of others than I was about my own happiness, I resolved to create healthy boundaries.

I set goals for myself all the time. You’ve even been privy to some of these micro goals. I know this summer I set a goal to eat more ice cream one weekend. I definitely don’t need to up my ice cream intake all year, but for that moment in time, it was imperative.

Although I don’t require a new year to make positive changes, I do require some quiet time. I need to step back and reflect. A day or two away from my normal routine allows my mind a chance to slow down. Then I can more clearly see the areas I need to focus on. When I’ve reached that level of clarity, it’s easy for me to see what I need to change.

So although I don’t have a set resolution going into the weekend, I’m confident that this upcoming year will be just fine. I will continue to struggle in some areas and soar in others. I will have friends go to the end of the earth for me and find out that not everything is meant to last forever. OK, who am I kidding.

I resolve to eat more ice cream in 2024.

Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.