New Year’s Resolutions (bad) vs Goals (good)

By Jon Rumens on 01 January 2022

How many of your New Year's Resolutions have you achieved?

*hears crickets*

That's what we thought...

Now, here's a method for setting goals that actually works:

As you may have gathered from the title of this article, at FocusMe we are not ashamed to admit our lack of neutrality in the New Year’s Resolutions vs Goals discussion.

We’ve got an opinion.

And we aren’t afraid to share it.

New Year’s Resolutions Suck!

So why do we continue to make them?

A quick scan of the history books (AKA a single Google search) tells us that setting airy yet aspirational goals at the turn of the calendar year has been a popular activity since sometime between the dawn of civilization and the early 19th century, depending on your preference in specialist.

Despite that yawning gap in potential periods of origin and the added billions of resolutions that going by the earlier date would add to the tally, one thing we can say with certainty is that only around 45 of all the New Year’s Resolutions ever made have actually been achieved. 

And all of those were made by the most determined, intelligent and single-minded person in history – Elon Musk.

Obviously that’s a joke.

He’s really no better than you or me.

But he probably does set goals and then lay out a framework for how to achieve them.

In fact, if he’s anything like he’s made out to be, he was probably already making detailed plans about how to become Emperor of Mars at age 5.

Now, just to be clear, becoming a billionaire doesn’t alleviate stress or guarantee you more free time, and it’s really bad for the planet, so while we encourage you to aim high, let’s keep it realistic.

Here’s how:

Block out the noise

Before you even get around to setting any goals, it’s crucial that you filter out all wispy day dreams and peripheral aspirations.

What is it that you really need?

And no, it’s not a romantic partner, a new car or to quit Facebook.

It’s true that these types of things may form part of your goals or even become the ultimate aim, but they tell you nothing about what you actually need to live a richer life.

Love, the ability to move around safely and the need to escape the endless scroll on the other hand…

Now, these are things that we all need.

Notice the difference between the first list and the second?

Lovers, cars and wanting to do your part to stop Mark Zuckerberg from developing an actual formula for mind control are all good and well, but they are just one potential way to solve deeper needs.

If you can’t define your needs and the prioritize them, you’ll never be able to set clear goals for how to meet them.

And just in case the implied part wasn’t clear, chasing stuff for the sake of it doesn’t bring happiness or feed motivation.

The best way to get something done is to have a good reason to want to do so.

That’s why with this method of problem solving we start by identifying our underlying needs before even attempting to set any goals or, dare I say it, make any resolutions.

List of New Year's Resolutions

Using needs to identify goals

Of course, a need on it’s own is no more use to you than last year’s wishy washy New Year’s resolution to stop supporting Jeff Bezos’s space habit even if it meant paying a little more at local businesses.

But identifying what we really need – the thing(s) that would truly enrich our lives – gives us a foundation with which to begin setting the right goals.

It can also help us to do something else important.

It can help us to realize that we don’t always require the things we thought we wanted in order to fulfill our deeper needs, or that perhaps there is different route to fulfilling those needs.

Say you’re thinking of setting a classic resolution: 

You want to go the gym at least 4 days a week and lose X amount of weight in 2022.

Those are pretty clearly defined, sensible goals, right?

Sure, but even though they might help you to fulfill your fundamental need for good health, they may are not the only way to do it.

What about all the other ways you can get in shape and improve your mental and physical health?

Never heard of anti-gravity yoga and water walking?

Maybe the reason you never stick to the gym is because it just isn’t your thing?

After all, we all know what they say about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results… 

So surely we’re better off just throwing a load of different stuff at the wall and hoping something sticks?

In other words, once you’ve identified your needs the next step is to spend some time working out how they might be fulfilled.

This means coming up with some kind of selection process to help you determine the most promising routes to success, or even a single goal that you believe will get you there.

Yet even having a clear goal leaves you a long way off from actually getting anything done.

Which is kind of the point of this article and our entire business.

Which leads us to…

New Year celebration

The importance of setting micro goals

Having a grand ambition or making a potentially life changing resolution feels fantastic!

They can give our lives a real sense of purpose and meaning.

But they can also be the cause a unique kind of gnawing dread.

The fear of failure.

We all face it in some way or another on a daily basis.

But when it comes to imagining big, important or long-awaited moments, this feeling can become particularly acute.

What if you actually went after your dreams and didn’t realize them?

What would you have left?

This is doubtless an unnerving thought experiment, but in truth it’s not one we need to make.

Your big goals are achievable!

You just need to break them down into smaller micro-goals that seem closer and easier to accomplish. 

This is how you create your framework for success.

One step at a time.

With realistic mini-objectives that give you something to grasp on to RIGHT NOW and help you to visualize a clear path towards your ultimate ambition.

That’s it.

A simple three step process:

1) Identify your needs
2) Work out how you can meet them
3) Use micro-goals to help you get there

Our challenge to you for 2022 is put this process to the test.

To try something different.

And to never make another New Year’s Resolution.

New year fireworks

Let FocusMe give you a helping hand

Let’s not sugarcoat it.

Even with a foolproof process, staying on track to achieve your goals can still be hard work.

That’s where a productivity app like FocusMe comes in.

If you struggle to maintain your concentration because of social media, gaming, news or any other form of digital distraction, these are the guardrails you need. 

 The app employs powerful code that forces you to stay within the digital boundaries you set for yourself.

If you’re serious about improving your productivity, this is the tool that will help you to do it. Don’t take our word for it though. 

Check out reliable third-party reviews by our many satisfied users to see what this one-of-a-kind tool can do for you. 

If you’re ready to get serious about beating your gaming addiction, simply click the big shiny button below and we’ll guide you every step of the way!