Blog | Jan 1, 2013 | 2 Comments

The Anti-Resolution

This is a revision of a blog I published at the end of 2010.  It’s interesting that my outlook hasn’t changed. It may explain why I’ll never be wildly successful, but it also explains why life is so interesting to me: I don’t limit myself with goals.

I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions because I don’t like setting specific goals.

This really goes against the grain of our culture. In our business and personal lives, we are encouraged or even required to set firm goals and steer toward them in all of our actions. The web is filled with blogs and articles about how to do this. Same for the bookstores and magazine racks. Everyone is trying to be inspirational and motivational, but I find them most of them to be a complete downer. I’m also just a little bit tired of other people trying to make a living by telling me how to manage my life.

My life has never been that straightforward.

I like staying continually open to new possibilities. I’ve needed that quality to weather the ups and downs in my life and career. Sometimes the mean voice in my head says that this is just lazy. “If you don’t have goals, how do you know if you’ve ‘won’?” I’ll tell you how: you’ve survived, you’ve kept a good attitude, and you’ve improved the lives of others.

I try to be guided by values, rather than goals.

When faced with a new opportunity or with discontent and the need to make a change, I believe I can listen to my heart and my experience. I felt a lot better about this when I read a post by Leo Babuta, who writes a hugely popular blog called zen habits. In “the best goal is no goal,” Leo makes a good case against goal setting and explains why it’s not lazy.

These days, however, I live without goals, for the most part. It’s absolutely liberating, and contrary to what you might have been taught, it absolutely doesn’t mean you stop achieving things.

It means you stop letting yourself be limited by goals.

I’m sure a lot of you feel differently. Tell me what you think. And Happy New Year!

p.s. Although I don’t set goals, I am a rabid list-maker. I just think of my to-dos as reminders. And yes, I change them constantly.

Photo credit: vintagehalloweencollector on flickr.

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Author: Claire Wagner

I'm a seasoned freelance writer/editor and an enthusiastic community manager. I'm passionate about developing and sharing good content.


I go with the flow too, Claire, but not without a paddle. Like you, I don’t care much for the current psycho babble of setting intentions and goals in the way it’s taught now. You miss way too many opportunities that way. If I can simply put my feet to the path of helping as many folks as I can with what I know and can do, then I’m free to engage with what works in that moment and turn loose of it when it no longer serves. That practice is especially helpful since I’m in the tech side of things, which changes very fast. I have a paddle so that I can run the rapids and avoid the rocks and pitfalls. Can’t imagine going with the flow any other way.




Sounds like you have a strong set of guiding principles and an idea of where you want to go. That makes sense, MaAnna. And you were never one for blindly following the herd!


Claire Wagner


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