Hurrah! We made it to another year. Are you thinking about the two main stereotyped aspects of New Year’s Day? Hangovers and New Year’s resolutions. Maybe one of the resolutions is to drink much less this year.
As we break out the new calendars, we see the year ahead as a clean slate for us to begin anew. Perhaps you feel enthusiastic about some things you want to accomplish in 2017 that were neglected in 2016. Are you like me and want to lose weight? The resolution to lose pounds has remained at number one for the past several years.
Maybe you yearn to become more organized, spend less money, find a romantic partner, or spend more time with family. Quitting smoking or vaping is still in the top-ten, located below enjoying life to the fullest, and learning something exciting.
I casually asked friends and acquaintances about their plans to make or not make resolutions. How many people actually followed through and completed the resolutions they made for 2016. Somewhat fewer than half made resolutions. Most of my acquaintances said they gave up on making resolutions many years ago because they simply lost interest or gave up on their promises too early.
Most people told me they make resolutions but fail to work on them beyond one month. A few determined hold-outs remembered to maintain their resolutions longer than six months. Only one of my friends actually succeeded in achieving his resolution. Jorge had resolved to quit binge eating sweets and junk food.
Just to make sure of the word, “resolution”, I consulted my trusty Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Among the several definitions of the word was “the act or process of resolving”. That was broken down into several subsets, one of which is germane to this topic, “something that is resolved”.
These definitions were unfulfilling, so I glanced down the page to find the word “resolve”. Among the several definitions was this, “to reach a firm decision about <resolve to become more compassionate>”.
It seems like the problems with resolutions, are that the term is too ambiguous and it’s overused. It does not have the stamp of authority. I think of congressional resolutions that have an airy-fairy feeling about them. Perhaps the House resolution “Requesting the President to issue a Proclamation calling for Observance of One Day of Peace and Sharing”. It sounds very official and legal, but did the entire United States actually celebrate such a day? I don’t remember it.
I’m not alone in thinking that “resolution” has lost its impact and force through superficial misuse. A stronger, more exacting word will serve us much better. That word is “commitment”. I checked the dictionary and found that the word has fewer definitions than “resolution”. Among the few definitions of “commitment” is this one. “The state of being emotionally or intellectually devoted, as to a belief, a course of action, or another person.” The key word in the definition is “devoted”. Again, I checked the dictionary and found this for “devoted”: “Feeling or displaying strong affection or attachment, ardent.”
So, the state of being emotionally or intellectually feeling or displaying strong affection or attachment is a key to success. Think about this.
It seems that if I want to actually make a meaningful change in how I live my life, I won’t make any resolutions. The more effective course of action is to make commitments. The best way is to make only one or two of them so as not to dissipate my attention. After all, the act of devotion is something very focused.
Today, I will sit in my favorite chair, with a pad of paper and brainstorm some things that need to be accomplished. I’ll narrow the list down to one or two important things. Then, I’ll write, in ink, a commitment agreement and sign it. The written agreement will be posted on the refrigerator so I can see it each day. I know this will work, because I used this method to quit smoking cigarettes many years ago.
Today is the perfect day to make a commitment to something or someone important to you.