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.