I am excited for 2013 just being around the corner. I am excited what the year is going to bring for me especially that 2012 was really good. I am happy that after all the fuss and the buzz that 2012 was supposedly the year that the world will end, here we are faced with renewed strength and hope of a new year.

As we prepare to usher in new year, we also start hearing about new year resolutions – a bunch of things that one intends to change in 2013. These resolutions cover a wide area of behaviors from health resolutions to financial resolutions. The reality is that most of these resolutions will go unnoticed after January as most people will start finding reasons to jusitify why they cannot stick to what they intend to change.

Here is a question, have you ever wondered why resolutions never really worked for many?

Some would say it is because of the lack of commitment for most people as the main reason for the failure to stick to these resolutions. It is partially true but we need to remember that people had all the conviction and commitment when they made these resolutions. Something happened during the formulation stage and actual practice that causes individuals to fall off their promises to themselves.

The gap between resolutions and actual result falls on the fact that some resolutions are not tied to something tangible for them to see and feel. These tangible stuff will motivate individuals to continue with the behavior that they are working on. Let me put in perspective, let us take the case of a person who wants to lose weight. One can approach it two ways – the first is focused on behaviour while the second works on tangible outputs that complement behaviour.

The first case is just about I intend to lose weight so I plan to workout three times a week and I will work on controlling what I eat. This is a good resolution and the if the person sticks to it, he or she will have a great chance of achieving it.

The second approach is done by stating that one intends to lose about 5 lbs. per month. So the individual then maps out how he or she intends to do that in a month and will be carefully monitoring the developements of her progress on a weekly basis. By monitoring his or her “achievements”, the person will be motivated to continue on with his or her behaviors that give her the result that she wants.

I guess it is quite obvious which approach will more likely to succeed in achieving the desired resolution, right? I think that the gap between achieving resolutions to that of not achieving lies primarily on the tangible outputs that is associated with the bigger result expected. This tangible output is a good motivation for the individual to continue with going for the goal hence it enforces the behaviour until it becomes a habit. I would like to call these tangible outputs as goals. The truth is that it is a lot easier to stick to goals rather than the resolution. Resolutions are associated to behaviour and goals are tangible outputs that enforce behaviour.

That is the reason why I have shifted my approach from resolutions to goals every year. I have managed myself towards listing 50 things that I wish to accomplish every year and these goals are aligned towards a specific behavior that I want to work on. Case in point, I wanted to work on getting myself into the habit of regularly working out this year and instead of forcing myself to “workout out at least 3 times a week”, I modified my approach by working on my goal of joining a trail run. It was a good goal and participating in a trail run needs preparation. I was then more eager to get into a fitness program. Did I get to join a trail run? Nope but I did get to work out regularly and even got an instructor to help me out. I did get the behaviour right with the right motivation or goal.

As the year 2012 is about to end in a few hours, another year is waiting to be conquered. Yes, I have already finalized my 2013 bucket list and I have modified it by writing down why I need to work on the goal. It is such a great feeling to work back on my list for this year and enjoying the feeling of achievement for having done this and that. What is more exciting is the prospect of what I can do this 2013.

I challenge you to work on your goals, aligning it with your behaviours, this coming 2013. It is neither too late nor too early to start your bucket list. I assure you that it really feels good to see things happening in your life.

Happy New Year and Cheers to a better 2013!