You’ve probably heard of or tried resolutions. And you’ve also probably heard the smack talk about them, how no one keeps them. So instead of re-hashing all of that, let’s actually look at what resolutions are, determine if there’s something of value in making resolutions, and chat about how to make a resolution in such a way that you DO keep it.
What is the value of a resolution?
I think this is a place for the discussion about timing. I’m writing this around the new year and it’s part of a series of January posts centered around the theme of new beginnings. Resolutions are often associated with New Years, to the point where I just read a book that actually abbreviated “New Years Resolutions” to “NYRs” for a discussion on the topic.
(For reference, the book is The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod. I highly recommend the main book along with any of the more specific versions that apply to you.)
However, resolutions can be made and used at any time. The new year is a good time to begin something new because there’s a lot of motivation. But I think you’ll see as we unpack the value of a resolution and later, what we can add to a resolution to make it really stick in our lives, that you can make a resolution at any point in your life and use some of the ideas here to make it work.
Back to the value discussion: it’s my opinion that resolutions DO have value when determined correctly and when followed by purposeful action. Here’s my reasoning:
- We as humans respond much better to specific, intentional statements than to vague ideas, especially when those statements inspire or direct action.
- So much of stewardship and life change require desire (will) and intent alongside action in order to bear fruit.
I believe that resolutions have value, mainly to help us clarify and organize our desires and intentions, making it easier to create action plans.
But, as you may have already guessed, I don’t think that only making resolutions is enough for most of us to meaningfully change our lives in the way we want to when we make a resolution. That brings us to the last part of our discussion: how can we make resolutions work?
How do you make resolutions work?
I’d like to introduce something I’ve decided to call the “resolution sandwich”. Too cutesy for you? Then think of it as the things on either side of your resolution to prop it up and make it work in your life.
First, you need a good “why” – the right motivation. Why are you making this resolution? Your resolution should be:
- Personal to you (vs. copied from someone else)
- Specific to something that impacts your life deeply
- Timely, in that it matters that you do this now
- Impactful and consequential, in that it truly will change your life to follow through with the resolution.
As we will discuss in a moment, following through on resolutions takes a lot of work. Whenever a massive effort is required, having a personal and purposeful motivation makes all the difference in the world between success and failure.
However, just motivation plus resolution won’t get you what you want, most of the time.
A small disclaimer: this won’t be an in depth discussion about goals, how to set them, and how to follow through on them. We will tackle that in additional posts, workshops, and even courses down the road. For now, we will sketch the outline of how setting goals are one part of the “action” puzzle piece that makes resolutions work.
Contrary to all the pins, reels, and other media about your resolution (whatever it may be) here’s the truth: following through on your resolution will take difficult, consistent effort. It doesn’t have to be the hardest thing in the world, but it will not be easy, fast, or effortless. Any marketing that tells you so is lying to your face for their own gain.
Sounds like a bit of a downer, right? WRONG. (Please picture Rafiki with his stick, though I would give you a gentle boop). Effort is excellent! We appreciate the things we work hard for. More than that, working hard at important things in our lives is actually incredibly fulfilling. It’s the reason you see smiles on people’s faces when the cross the finish line at marathons (and those tears are probably mostly happy tears). Working hard and receiving the fruits of our hard work feels good.
Is it really worth it?
We are designed to do hard things. That doesn’t mean we should shoot ourselves in the foot then try to run a 5K. The opposite, in fact. To continue with the metaphor, it means we buy the right shoes, stretch beforehand, get some good music, and give ourselves every opportunity to succeed in the run.
That’s what goal setting does for your resolution. It’s where you plan for the rubber to meet the road. You outline the “what” and “how” that gets you to a point in the future where your resolution has been achieved. Where you say “I wrote a book!” instead of “I will write a book.”
When you set goals correctly, you not only give yourself something tangible to strive for, you outline for yourself the steps to get you there. Like I said, I’m not going to dive into exactly how to set goals. However, setting and working toward goals related to your resolution is the way to make it a reality in your life.
So now what?
Make that resolution!
State your will and intent boldly, beautifully.
But make sure you know why and how you’re going to follow through. Then, buckle up for the hard, rewarding work of following through. You were designed for this. You can do it. Courage, dear sister.
Here are some resources that I think will help you along the way:
Finally, please reach out with any specific questions or just to chat! I’d love to connect. You can leave a comment on this post, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or join the network and send me a message.