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Resolutions v. Goals: Backing Into It

setting goals

Who’s ready to kick some resolution butt? Maybe you make them, maybe not. For many of us, this is the time of year that we, at least, evaluate the previous year and establish some goals for the one ahead. The topics may range from not smoking to weight loss to saving money, but little will be accomplished without a goal.

Further, little will be accomplished without a goal that is executable. Goals are easy to establish, but many struggle because they have not set sensible goals with manageable milestones. The process is fairly simple but requires some time and commitment to the process.

savourwell-laid plans


What you’ll need

  • Long term goal – this is what it is all about – take a European vacation, lose 25 pounds,  etc.
  • Short term goals – small manageable chunks – save $500 per month, lose 2 pounds per week
  • A deadline – choose and end date or your goal is a wish.  This doesn’t mean that the date can’t change. It just holds you accountable.   
  • Mini rewards – make note of how you will celebrate the achievement of short term goals. This will vary by individual. It might be a latte or just a post on Facebook.

How to back into goals. Use your long term goal and your deadline for your calculations. For example, let’s imagine your goal is to save $6000 toward a European family vacation by the following year. You will need to start breaking that into pieces that are relatable to your daily life. $6000 per year = $500 per month or $125 per week.  You might even go so far as $25 per weekday. Now you’ll need to establish some real measurable actions that will help you get there. 

Meeting the goal may be easier than you think, but might require some sacrifice. In the case of money, it might mean giving up lunches out or making your own coffee. It might even mean some moonlighting or going back to work part-time. For weight loss, it might mean trading out one meal for two much lighter snacks about 3 hours apart. One thing is for sure… this is your chance to determine if your goal is even feasible based on what is required to achieve it. If not, re-evaluate it and adjust as necessary.

Next steps:

Write it down. Many people are reluctant to execute this part of the plan.  For me, it is a critical ingredient for success. Keep it on the fridge or your bulletin board, but write the whole thing down. My wife likes to write her overall goals on her dressing table mirror with a dry erase marker. Not only will you be more likely to commit, but you will have a reference for the specifics as you maneuver through your goal period. This should include a goal statement and the steps included. It does need to be formal or professional… just something you have to see regularly, such as:

Our goal is to save $6000 over the next twelve months toward a European vacation. That will be $500 per month and $125 per week.  Some of the ways we will do it are:

  • Taking our lunch every day instead of eating out at work
  • Trimming back on extras at the supermarket to save $25 per week
  • Evaluating our current service providers to see if there are better options

Create some sort of tracker – I like to use blank calendar pages. I keep them in a binder and note the milestone dates and the short term goal for that date. Project where you should be at the end of each week, month, etc. and record it ALL (in pencil). This will help keep you on track or help you make realistic adjustments to the goal as necessary.


Be sure to celebrate when you are on track. Make a big deal of your accomplishments and share it with those that it impacts.  Reward yourself in a way that is meaningful, but still keeps you on track. In other words, don’t sabotage your weight loss goal by rewarding yourself with a pizza feast.

Do not count on the ‘big’ thing that is going to happen (bonus, inheritance, etc.). If that happens, it will just be extra. Just count on making your goals through good old fashioned hard work. The path to anything meaningful is bumpy and usually uphill.

You are going to experience some failure. There… I’ve said it. Just be prepared and practice making adjustments to your plan to ensure future success. The more you do it, the more your ability to be flexible and make good adjustments will improve.

Reach out for help if you need it. You can even reach me for whatever support I can offer. Leave your comments here or email me with your ideas, suggestions, or to discuss your goals.

Good luck!


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