Resolutions and Intentions

At the start of every year, I, along with millions of others around the world, make resolutions. We decide, often quite flippantly, to do certain things. It could be to change a habit, lose weight, or to get fitter and just “be healthier”. But 99% of the time they are lofty goals that last only a couple of weeks, a month or maybe six weeks if you really try hard, but they rarely last.

As I began thinking about my resolutions for the year, I made my usual trip to the dictionary for a definition.

res·o·lu·tion
noun
• a firm decision to do or not to do something.
• a formal expression of opinion or intention agreed on by a legislative body, committee, or other formal meeting, typically after taking a vote.
• the quality of being determined or resolute.

It struck me that a resolution is much more than the lofty ambitions we make at the start of each year. They are intentional. A committee will not vote a formal resolution into place without having a firm intention to follow through with it. Yet very often we determine what our new year’s resolutions will be simply by a fleeting desire or a momentary decision. We base them on nothing more than what we think is going to be a beneficial thing for us to do. We’re not intentional in our thoughts and often do not stand firmly behind our decisions, evidenced by the same resolutions recurring year after year. In stark contrast, a real resolution is intended, it has purpose, it is designed.

in·tent
noun
• something that is intended; purpose; design;

A resolution is pointless if we have not considered why. Why do we want to get up earlier? Why do we want to use our time better? Why do we want to be fitter? All of these are good things but why do we want to do them? If we decide to do these things without thinking about the real purpose, they will never stick.

To make them stick, we must go further than think about why we want to do them. Once we have a firm motivation in place, we must design that resolution using our motivation as a basis. As it says in Proverbs chapter 14 and verse 15:

“A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.”

If we resolve to just do something without thought we not only waste time, we waste our intentions and we waste energy. It’s hard enough to gain momentum when beginning a new thing that has a clear motivation, but gaining momentum on something without a clear aim or goal? That’s likely to end in a failure which has an impact on other plans we make. Once we are discouraged by something it’s very hard to recover the confidence and enthusiasm that we need to start something. The memory of failing at one thing lingers at the back of our minds and saps at what little confidence or belief we have about the new thing.

If you’re reading this as it approaches the second half of January, and you’re struggling to stick to the resolutions you made only a couple of weeks ago, I encourage you to stop for a moment and ask yourself why you wanted to do them in the first place. If you can’t find a concrete answer, maybe it’s time to reconsider. So many times I’ve heard someone declare they want to do something, but because of a lack of a defined destination they struggle, become discouraged and lose all motivation. A complete waste of that initially well placed intention. Don’t waste that limited supply of energy you have trying to build momentum behind something that’s just a shallow thought. Instead put it into a resolution that has a destination, something that has value.

How To Create Motivation For Yourself by Randy Murray ›

And most importantly, these people who want to be writers find that when they sit down, they just can’t get motivated.

This is true of any person trying to do something outside of work. Replace writing with designing and it could apply to a designer. Similarly a painter, or someone who sketches.

I want to be a great designer and constantly have ideas of something to do for my create, but, similarly I sit down to do it and can’t get going. Almost like the last thing I want to do when I get home from a day of designing at work is do more of it. It’s not always tiredness or lethargy that stops me, sometimes it’s pressure.

When you want to do something so strongly, when you do find the time to sit down and do it there can be an undeniable pressure to make sure that you use that time well. It’s a hidden pressure, one that’s created by you, that often goes unnoticed. Finding a way to remove that pressure can mean that the barrier of motivation is removed and you are able to just sit down and do.

I guess it’s about managing your own expectations. Expectations of what you produce in the time that you have. If you have the expectation of producing something awesome straight away it won’t happen. Instead having the expectation that you will produce something in that hour, no matter how good it is, can be the first step on the path towards doing what you want.

Work Less on Think Vitamin ›

More on the four day work week from Carsonified.

If you work every week like you were going on holiday on the Friday then you can get all of your work done in four days rather than five. It takes concentration, dedication and a zero tolerance approach to distractions. The reward is an extra 52 days off a year. Is that worth it to you?

I can’t explain how intrigued I am by the notion of being adaptable to get the most out of your employees as well as being more interested in enriching heir lives.

(Via Can’t remember. I’ll update when I remember.)

And thinking about writing is not the same as writing.

Reading about writing is not the same as writing.

Tweeting about writing is not the same as writing.

Having a conversation about writing is not the same as writing.

Shawn Blanc in Writing vs. Writing

Replace writing with whatever it is you want to do. Designing, taking photographs, running a marathon. You’re not doing it unless you’re doing it.

Writing vs. Writing by Shawn Blanc

More Ideas Than Time, but More Time Than Focus by Shawn Blanc ›

Shawn hits the nail on the head once again.

Often I find myself wrestling with the tension that I have more ideas than time. There are many great things I want to do and build and ship and start, but I just don’t have the time to do them. However, I’m finding that the real problem is not my lack of time — it’s my lack of focus.

I think we all struggle with the notion that we don’t have enough time to do all that we want. In reality we don’t have the focus to do them. Time is a constant that we have no control over, focus and motivation come and go, what matters is how we make the most of it when we have it and how we generate it when we don’t.