It’s the beginning of January 2020….and what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t use the “R” word? I am sure you already expected it.
According to the Oxford online dictionary, “resolution” is defined as “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” Things like read more, eat healthier, exercise, lose weight, reduce stress and be more patient are a few I’ve heard this year. These are all great, and for all of you who have articulated a resolution, here’s a virtual high five.
For me, New Year’s resolutions are usually embedded in my “life list,” which I tend to update every January. I continue to believe that adding or changing items on my list is one of the most effective ways to ensure a life lived deliberately and with purpose.
Resolutions work the same way, which is why it was peculiar that I had a “here we go again” reaction recently when the subject of New Year’s resolutions came up on the morning news show. For the first time in my life, the phrase “New Year’s resolution” felt cliche.
For years, I’ve annoyed my friends and family asking what their New Year’s resolutions were and somewhat saddened when I received an unenthused response. It finally made sense, however.
At some point, after we’ve heard a thing over and over, its intended value is diminished. I can imagine it is especially so for resolutions because doing or not doing something is often a lot easier to say than…well…do.
Then, within a microsecond of having had the “ugh” feeling about what was about to be aired on screen, I had a thought. One of the most striking advantages humans have over any other creature is our ability to make conscious decisions about who we are, what we want to become and how we are going to get there.
The term “New Year’s resolution” does arguably sound cliche. In many ways, they are like diets, which explains why so many people poo poo them. Like diets, resolutions are often associated with a short-term behavior change and part of our arsenal to combat things we dislike about ourselves or our current conditions.
So, if you have made a resolution this year, congratulations. The single act of articulating or sharing your New Year’s aspiration is huge. But now that you have done so, I would encourage you to use it to galvanize your purpose. Switch the focus from what you don’t like and want to change to what you do like and want to harness.
The distinction I propose is subtle, yet significant. Consider how your resolution fits into your long-term aspirations about who you are, who you want to become and the difference you are going to make in the world.
Happy New Year!