Resolutions vs Goals

by | Behind The Scenes

The New Year is just around the corner again, and it is during this time that a certain switch seems to suddenly turn on for most of us to find the time, and ponder how we want the upcoming year to go.

It’s also the best time to establish what we want to achieve and assess what’s keeping us from achieving them and also, structure a plan on how to make them happen, which is commonly known, as Goals and Resolutions.

Resolutions and Goals are often referenced together, basically because they go hand in hand and you can’t have one without the other. But what is the difference, and what would be a better way to start the year – a list of resolutions or having a set of goals?

Let’s dive in and find out.



Resolutions refers to decisions and commitments to do or not do certain actions. It may include boundaries, a stopping or starting point that when done or performed on a regular basis, will eventually lead you to a certain trajectory of achieving a certain milestone or building a habit.

Most people commonly make a list of New Year’s resolutions, which is good, however, most resolutions are thought of by its entirety and not as a plan.  

Breaking a habit or building one, for example, the habit of meditation, may be listed as just that – “I want to start meditating” which sounded more like taking a big, sudden leap without a definitive course of action, thus, making it vague which eventually leads to a Yes-No, Did or Did Not, all or nothing course of action. 

Having said that, without a clearer and more defined plan of achieving the target of building the habit of meditation, it will most probably be left hanging and end up to be the same resolution for next year… and the cycle repeats itself.

Goals can also be defined as a target – a more defined “place” that you’d like to be, or something you’d like to achieve at a certain period you have set for yourself. It can also be classified as short-term or long-term.

The best type of goal is one that is S.M.A.R.T

  • Specific – a clear and defined definition of what you want to achieve and when you’d like to see them completed
  • Measurable – you should be able to monitor the development through your actions as you work on its progress
  • Attainable / Actionable– one that is challenging enough but possible to achieve
  • Realistic / Reasonable –  doable and within reach by your capacity and resources
  • Time-bound – with a defined specific time as to when you’d like it to be achieved and completed

A goal that has these measures tends to be more achievable since they are more defined with an intentional and planned approach, and involve little steps that are more realistic and doable.


Let’s go back to the example we used about building a meditation habit and apply the S.M.A.R.T goal:


  • Specific: “I will meditate twice a day”
  • Measurable: “I will spend one hour a day meditating and monitor my daily progress”
  • Attainable / Actionable: “I will join a focused group that will help me in my meditation journey”
  • Realistic / Reasonable: “I will tell my family and friends about my plan so they can support me, and call me out when I go off track”
  • Time-Bound: “I aim to adapt meditation as a habit in 30 days”


Applying the S.M.A.R.T approach to this goal, we were able to clearly map out the journey towards the outcome of what we want to achieve with specifically defined and actionable “baby” steps to take towards achieving our target in a  clearly stated length of time.


About me

Hi! I’m Catherine 🙂

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