On Resolutions

A new year has started…welcome to 2016. A new year usually means New Year’s Resolutions. As I started thinking about what I may need to improve, change, etc. or what kind of resolutions I should make, I thought about how many people make resolutions but don’t keep them. So I wondered, “what is a resolution?” and why do many people not keep theirs. To define the action of making a resolution, a couple definitions are needed – resolution and resolve.

According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary, resolution is defined as the following: the act or process of resolving/answering/determining, something that is resolved, a formal expression of opinion, intent, or will by an official body or assembled group. To resolve is to deal with successfully, reach a firm decision about, declare or decide by a formal resolution and vote; a strong determination to do something. Two of the above definitions (the underlined) describe what we do when we make our New Year’s Resolutions.

A resolution could be a problem that can be fixed or solved immediately or it could be an issue that can only be resolved through a process. I think New Year’s Resolutions are generally a process. But these resolutions take a strong determination for us to deal with the issue successfully. Many resolutions appear simple: work out every day, give up soda for a year, only watch one episode of any show per week, no more than one cup of caffeine per day, etc.

I was watching a Phineas and Ferb episode the other day that focused on New Year’s Day. The joke at the end was that New Year’s Resolutions are meant to be broken. At first I laughed, but it occurred to me that many people do view their resolutions that way or in a similar way. Quite a few people make resolutions, as if it is expected on New Year’s Day, with the expectation that they will not be able to keep to it. I would say that this kind of belief stems from a lack of confidence in one’s self and possibly a lack of determination. Determination is a firm or fixed intention to achieve a desired end, a quality that makes you continue trying to do or achieve something that is difficult.  Determination is what keeps us from giving up. It’s what keeps you going even when you can’t see how you can reach the end. Those aren’t the only reasons that one might not keep a resolution. Sometimes there are circumstances outside your control that prevent you from holding to your resolution. What if a college student made the resolution to read at least one leisure book every two weeks for a year? An extra busy semester could eat up that student’s leisure time that was originally going to be used for reading. What if you planned to work out every day for a year? An injury could prevent that from happening.  There are times when you are prevented from accomplishing your resolution the way that you originally planned. There is another part that I think prevents people from completing their resolutions. That would be the stumbles or slips that bring disappointment in oneself. You vowed not to drink any soda for a year and on a bad day you drank a Coca-Cola. Rather than giving up because of one slip, you should use that as your motivation to keep trying.

So this year, what are you resolutions? Do you have one or several? Did you set them for yourself or did you let someone else set them for you? Whatever the case I hope that you chose one that will benefit you and, possibly, those around you. In any case, Happy New Year and I look forward to learning what this year has in store. God bless!

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