Volume 64: What Are We Trying to Re-solve?

Posted on 03/27/2012

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As we all know, 2011 has come to an end, and all the end-of-the-year behaviors were annoyingly apparent. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get tired of all the “lists” and “reviews” and spikes in gym memberships that happen at the end of every year. Another inexplicable phenomenon that happens is our annual list of promises to ourselves – commonly known as resolutions. Now, I’m extremely familiar with new year resolutions because I used to make them myself (sometimes I catch myself still making them). Then one day, I thought about the word resolve and broke it down. The prefix “re-” means to do again; and the word “solve” means to find the answer or explanation for. So, in a sense, when we resolve to do something, we’re finding the answer again. Wait….Is that right? Yes. Could it be that our original solution was not the best? Or could it be that we didn’t follow through with our original plan? Either way, how many solutions can the same problem have? I mean, I’m all for solution analysis; but, is that really what we’re doing when we design our list of resolutions? When thinking about how commonplace resurrected resolutions resurface, I must ask the question: What Are We Trying to Re-solve?

Reduce the Resolution

Have you noticed that the language people use in December changes appreciably? It seems that every malady or bad habit we exhibit quickly gets followed by a “Next year, (insert correction here)”. Why is that? Our propensity for procrastination has propelled us to put off personal improvement until “next year”. Again, why is that? Is January self-improvement month? Is there a switch that we find only on new years day after the hangover wears off? Or could it be that the indiscriminate nature of our resolution planning makes us more unlikely to truly complete any new task?

I know I’ve asked a lot of questions (some rhetorical); so now, I’m going to provide some suggestions for making well-conceived resolutions. If you’re sincerely looking to make behavioral, relationship, or professional improvements, the following tips should prove useful.

Five Tips for Resourceful Resolutions

1) Keep the list short – Far too often, we have an extensive list of “to-do’s”. I mean, there’s only so many trips you can take, so many bad habits you can break, and so many bad relationships you can forsake. Narrowing down your list keeps you from becoming overwhelmed  and giving up. It also keeps you more focused on the task because it is more easily integrated into your schedule.

2) Set attainable goals – For example, if your goal is to get into shape, don’t think you’re going to become a supermodel or Schwarzenegger. That’s the best way to set yourself up for failure. A good way to remedy setting unattainable goals is by setting smaller milestones along the way. Losing 50 pounds can be daunting; but losing 4 pounds a month for 12 months is easier.

3) Work on your resolution every day for an entire month – This is important because studies show that most habits take 3-4 weeks to really take.  Also, incorporating a new activity will initially make you feel like you “don’t have the time”.  After a month, your schedule will accommodate the additional activity.

4) Challenge yourself – I know this sounds contradictory to the second tip; however, setting attainable goals and challenging yourself are mutually exclusive. Challenging yourself makes you search for expert resources to accomplish your goal. I’ve never heard of someone thinking it was a bad thing to learn more or find new ways to challenge themself. In fact, it’s those challenges that keep our minds and lives fresh.

5) Have Fun – We must always remember that, no matter what the challenge we set, we must find a way to make it fun. I don’t know about you, but I know that I’d much rather do things that are fun versus the opposite. In that light, we have to find a way to make the challenging or mundane activities fun. Additionally, the process of creating a fun way to achieve our goals will make us more apt to complete it.

Conclusion

As you can probably suspect, I started this post several months ago, but just got around to finishing it. You may be asking yourself, “Why did you still publish it?” Good question. Well, if you’re really trying to change, it shouldn’t matter if it was January or June when you get started. The principles are the same. Also, if you did make a “New Year’s Resolution”, this post could serve as a first quarter check-up for that resolution. Either way, I hate to waste a good post because it’s a month or two too late, LOL! Finally, if you want, you can treat this post the same way some Christians treat God. It might not come when you what it, but it’s always right on time.

That’s just my three cents…

Sillethoughts

“Peep my ver-na-cular cuz I don’t know how to act…”

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