I was torn about whether to make hard & fast "resolutions" this year. I know what habits I need to form, I know how to go about forming them, and I have been doing so already. Do I really need to formalize it and shout it to the world? Do I need to have a numbered target or step-by-step list? There are definitely benefits to formalizing and quantifying your resolutions. Having specific goals and putting numbers to them makes it clear whether you've accomplished them by the end of the year. Rather than saying "Get more X" or "Do Y better", you can set a specific amount that you think would mark a significant increase X or Y, measure your progress, and respond accordingly.

But why set these resolutions if I probably won't achieve them anyway? Well, if that is your outlook then you should probably make more reasonable resolutions, or redefine your model of success. It may be inspiring to set big lofty goals, but it's usually more useful to break things into manageable pieces. If you're going vegetarian, instead of saying to yourself "no meat this year" you could say "Meatless Mondays" or "only eat meat once a day", and to me that's an acceptable resolution. If you've done it well for a month or so, you can kick it up a notch, and if you fall off the wagon, you can get back up and do better next week. If you've formed a new good habit by the end of the year, then it's a win.

If you choose to keep things vague, or not to set a measureable goal, then you can claim success as a lack of failure. You didn't set a number, so it's impossible to fall short of it. But will that "success" be satisfying? Sometimes we don't set goals for fear of falling short, and by doing so we've already admitted defeat before trying. If we can't commit to working in concrete ways towards a concrete goal, then chances are you probably didn't want it that badly in the first place. New Years can get us feeling motivated and on track to do those things we should have been doing last year, but true motivation must come from within ourselves. If it only comes with the new year, then by February, we'll be right back where we started. We decide what is important to us. The minute you actually decide to prioritize that resolution is the minute you can start to make actual progress.

It's time to make the decision. If you know better, do better.