New Year’s Resolutions

The word resolution sounds like a curse word to me.  Because when I think of New Year’s resolutions (and who doesn’t have that connotation with the word resolution?) I think long strings of curse words.  Who hasn’t made a New Year’s resolution, only to fail spectacularly?

I resolve to buy a straight jacket for my teenager.  She scares me.

I resolve to buy a straight jacket for my teenager. She scares me.

However, according to dictionary.search.yahoo.com, the word resolution is not synonymous with shit-goddamit-how-did-my-butt-get-even-bigger.  The word resolution means:

n. noun

  1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.

    faced the situation with resolution.

  2. A firm decision to do something.

    made a resolution to get more exercise.

  3. A course of action determined or decided on.

    His resolution is to get up early.

So…resolutions do not mean that we have to promise to give up something or to do something heinous we’ve been putting off for, like, ever?  Not on your life.  Nope, it would appear that resolutions are the kinds of things we do all the time!  I mean, it takes some serious resolution, i.e. firm determination, to get my butt out of bed to go work every day.  I’d rather be home playing on facebook.

Yet we have created this whole phenomenon of New Year’s Resolutions, whereby we come up with all these crazy resolutions for the new year.  And it makes sense.  A new year means a new slate and new possibilities.  Put the old behind us and focus on the new.  What better time to resolve to learn ancient Sumerian but at the beginning of the new year?  But by doing so, it seems like this huge onus has been put on the word resolution.  We make these resolutions, these firm decisions to do something, and more often than not we fail. Fail in a spectacular way.

Curse you, oh failed resolutions! I am held captive by my own expectations!

Instead, I think we should get the word resolution tied in with the word solution.  It seems like when something is broken or needs to be made better, a solution is in order.  When I want to start something I’ve never done, the solution is to do it.  To get started.  But I have to resolve to come to that solution.  I have to resolve to commit to that solution.  I have to resolve to act/do that solution.    Resolution is a part of all problem solving, starting new things and of getting stuff done.  You want to do something, you resolve to do it.  You do it.  Shoot, Nike’s marketing department is genius.  The folks there figured that out eons ago.

Our solutions to our problems do not lie in resolutions.  Not in the New Year Resolutions sense of the word, anyway.  Our solutions involve us and changing the way we think.  And the great thing is, we resolve things every day of the year.  We are resolute and kicking butt every day!  We don’t have to wait until the beginning of the new year to resolve to do some new thing or to fix some other thing.  We can resolve any old time of the year and get our behinds in gear!  (And yet, paradoxically, I’m waiting until the beginning of this year to start blogging again.  Go figure.)

It is true that the new year does seem to lend itself to fresh starts psychologically.  I have a lot of things that I would like to accomplish this year and on into the future.  Goals.  Lots of ’em.  So I guess you could say that my New Year’s Resolution this year is to break down my goals, come up with solutions and the resolve to accomplish them.  Then do it.  All. Year. Long.  And on into the future.

More like the SOLUTION is in your hand. https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffanddayna/3249165942/

Chris Guillebeau, the blogger who writes The Art of Non-Conformity, performs an annual review at the end of every year.  He sits down and reviews his year, looking at the highs and the lows and what he could have done better.  Then using this information, he comes up with goals for the new year.  He also does this exercise every five years, too, to find patterns and come up with broader, more long-term goals.  I like this idea.  It becomes less like the New Year’s Resolution style of resolving and more like…planning.  Planning for the future.

Now doesn’t planning for the future sound so much better and so much less threatening than a New Year’s Resolution? Seems like it’s easier to resolve to do something if you’ve got a plan.  Solving problems is easier if you have a plan.

So say it with me: resolutions+solutions=plans+goals.

I think that’s simple enough.  We’ll see if my thoughts work so well in reality.  My next post is going to cover some of my goals for 2015.

What are your thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions?  Do you have any big plans or goals or resolutions for 2015?

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