By Jeff C. Leffew, Founder and President

It’s that fascinating time of the year when we start thinking about what we want to achieve in the coming year. Many of us go through the well-worn process of stating the weight we want to lose and how many more hours per week we want to spend with our families. On the business front, we talk about revenue goals and tightening up our belts on overhead expenses. More aggressive types may expound upon their plans for expansion. There is no end to what we may say is our focus for the coming year, perhaps even incorporating these into vision statements or business forecasts.

Semantics can get in the way of progress. Is it important to decide whether the door is scarlet, paprika or plain old red when all you need to do is open it? But when it comes to goals and resolutions, a better understanding of their meanings can be important

A goal is “the purpose toward which an endeavor is directed; an objective.” A resolution is something that you “make a firm decision about.” In other words, to set a goal is to purpose yourself to move in a certain direction, whereas to make a resolution is to decide your desired endeavor will come to pass because you will it to be. A resolution, by definition, is much more definitive than a goal. I think it is important to understand the difference between these terms before rattling off a list that will supposedly guide how you improve yourself and your business each year. Ask yourself whether you will be effective by setting a goal or by making a firm decision. The choice is yours.

My primary resource for developing my goals each year is the Bible, specifically Joshua 3:5 and Luke 14:28. I use these two verses to motivate and give me purpose behind why I set goals. They remind me that I need to be prepared to be used by God and to give my all to Him. Thinking about a new year, I also hearken back to Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. This book always reminds me to get the “hard things” done sooner rather than later.

Regardless of whether you are a goals person or a resolution person, the more important issue is that you take time to evaluate, plan and prioritize what you hope to achieve in the coming year. Just wishing it will happen generally gets you to the same place you are now.