I Am Resolved: Resolutions vs. Goals

Ryan Eidson  —  January 2, 2017

Do you have a new year’s resolution (or two)?

Right now the gyms (such as the YMCA) are full of clients. Interest goes up for money, budgets, and getting out of debt at this time of year. Many people look for better jobs, completing their college degree, or looking for new life opportunities now that it is early January.

However, most people don’t do anything about their resolutions after February comes.

Why not? They were just resolutions. They weren’t goals.

What is the difference between a resolution and a goal?

A resolution is a statement of what you want to change. Examples:

  • I want to lose weight.
  • I want to have more time with my family.
  • I want to save more money.

A goal is a very specific statement of what you want to achieve by a certain date (or have as an ongoing habit). Rephrasing the above resolutions as goals, here are examples:

  • I will lose 10 pounds by March 31, 2017.
  • Every day I will spend x amount of minutes with each family member. Every week I will have an hour of one-on-one time with each member of my household.
  • We will save $1500 by July 15, 2017 to take our family vacation that month.

To make the goals even stronger (and more likely that you will reach them), you need to state why you want to reach each goal:

  • I will weigh x pounds by March 31, 2017 so that I can feel better and accomplish more in my workday as I provide for my family.
  • I will spend x amount of one-on one time with each family member because I need to understand each person’s feelings, wishes, dreams, and desires, and to create memories as we bond closer together.
  • We will save $1500 for our 2017 family vacation so that we can pay for our road trip in cash.

Your Turn

Do you see the big difference between a resolution and a goal, and why this is important to your life?

How will you phrase your new year’s resolutions as goals? Share in the comments below.

Ryan Eidson


I have the unique ability to make complex ideas easy to understand. I am the author of A Couple with Common Cents and live in rural Missouri.
  • Kolawole Kehinde

    I appreciate your perspective towards differentiating between resolutions and goals. I believe that smart goals lead us to making concrete resolutions which are specific,measurable,achievable,realistic and time bound as mentioned in your article. We resolve to do with we agree to do. Our goals should drive the resolutions we decide to turn into action plans.

    • Yes, it is a practical way to turn ideas into action.

  • Olalekan Babatunde

    I love this article, it’s so helpful, I just like to add a comment to it, our goal should be a written goal and we should map out a plan of action in achieving a realistic goals, if not, it is as good as resolution.