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Ideas to inspiration: Goals is a better word than resolutions

Dec. 26, 2023
Jackie Sanders, MBA, RDH, explains why she prefers the word "goals" over "resolutions" when it comes to a new year.

While many are thinking on their New Year’s resolutions for 2024, a large percentage have given up on the resolution process since it never works for them, and they are tired of being disappointed within the first week. What if you had a play on words and were to call them your 2024 goals rather than resolutions? With the change of just one word, you've given yourself 365 days to achieve your goal rather than reaching disappointment in just a few days or weeks.

Goals are final results or achievements with a desired result in mind. Resolution is making a firm decision to decide to do or not do something. Now I don’t know about you, but the word "achievement" is far more inspiring to me than the thought of a “firm decision.”

In my personal life, uncontrollable situations often drove my resolutions to failure within a short amount of time and would disappoint me to a level where I would just give up. I became one of those people who never made resolutions because they never worked. When I began setting goals, though, I had the opportunity and ability to alter my path and still achieve my goals, whether it was in three months or ten. I suddenly began to realize how much I liked the process.

New Year’s is probably one of my favorite holidays as I have always felt it provided a clean slate, a fresh start, and offered me the opportunity to lay out all my dreams. I have numerous journals filled with big dreams and failed resolutions with few results. Years ago, I changed my opening mantra and started calling my resolutions, “Goals for 20XX.” To maintain the work/life balance, I developed one goal in each area of my life and gave myself 12 months to achieve it. You may have specific words that align with the areas of your life where I chose to set goals in the following:

  • Health/well-being
  • Spiritual
  • Financial
  • Professional/career
  • Family/friends
  • Personal development
  • Travel/recreation

To get myself in the right mindset, I would take the time to reflect on each of these areas and would determine what was my greatest achievement in each of these areas that past year. If there were multiple achievements, I would list them all, as these moments motivate your thought process and help you to determine what your goals may be in 2024. After listing all of these successes, you will probably be feeling pretty good about what you have done and will be well prepared to set some new goals for the incoming year.

Take some time and think about each of these areas and what you would like to accomplish in the next 365 days. List them, and then list what this would do to benefit your life. Throughout the year, read your goals to remind you why this achievement is important to you or those whom you care about. The constant reminder will be beneficial as you progress. If necessary, post reminders around the house or make secret notes to yourself that only you know.

Whatever your goals may be, remember you have 12 months to achieve them, and, if you don’t get anything done the first week of the year, you still have 51 weeks and you won’t be disappointed in yourself. Enjoy creating your goals for 2024!

Editor's note: Jackie Sanders, MBA, RDH, is the chief editor of sister publication/site RDH. Originally posted in 2017 and updated regularly.

Jackie Sanders, MBA, RDH, has over four decades of continual career development and experience in dentistry. As the chief editor of RDH magazine, she strives to remain a proactive personality in the continual advancement of the profession. She has been defined as a motivated trendsetter and dependable colleague and is inspired by her true passion of helping others to achieve their personal goals.