It’s true, New Years resolutions are passé. Every year, you look at what is wrong in your life and triumphantly decide that you are going to resolve these problems by issuing a bold and sweeping set of statements, or edicts.

  • Lose weight
  • Stop smoking
  • Get fit

These are what you want to achieve, chasing that ever elusive dream of making your life better. Can you? Can a simple list of statements help you achieve these goals? I’m not so sure. For some people I’m sure that they don’t even have to write them down, those super motivated people who seem to exude success.

I used to do this, on scraps of easily lost paper, “Stuart’s New Year’s Resolutions!” it would say, with a list of two or three word ambition’s for the year. Lost by February. For the last few years I haven’t even bothered with writing them down, I’d just mouth off to anyone who would listen, “I’m gonna do this, and that, this year, you wait and see”.

Which funnily enough, didn’t get me very far with achieving very much. That said, 2007 was a year I’ll never forget, for a number of reasons (not all of which I want to go into here), and it has led me to believe even more than I did, that it is all well and good to strole through life without a care, thinking everything is fine and dandy. Because it is not. Doing that will get you stuck, trapped in a rut that you can’t get out of, never having made anything of your life.

Thankfully, I’m pretty certain that I’m not in a rut. Trust me, I’ve been there and I know what it is like.

So what to do instead of making ‘New Year’s Resolutions’? It’s simple: Set goals. “But”, I hear you cry, “a goal IS a resolution?!” Which in this sense I suppose they are, however there is a crucial difference. A goal set’s out what you want to do and how you are going to achieve it.

The above list could be re-written like so:

  • Lose weight by eating healthily and exercising more to get fit.
  • Stop smoking by using patches and will power, giving up completely by Easter.
  • Get fit, by joining a gym, running and cycling and lose 2 stone by Easter

These aren’t my goals for this year… Ok, I don’t smoke, but the other two count. I’m not revealing my other goals… yet. I have several though, and I intend to get stuck in and achieve them.