Many years ago I gave up on writing New Year’s resolutions. It seemed to me like an exercise in futility—by February I’d forgotten whatever good intentions I had the month before.
It also seemed incorrect to call it a New Year’s resolution, since I was making the same ones year after year.
The Encarta Dictionary has 13 definitions for the word resolution. I would like to look at the concept of the New Year’s Resolution in light of 9 of them.
- Process of resolving—the process of resolving something such as a problem or dispute. We make resolutions in response to problems. We see something in ourselves that needs changing.
- Decision—a firm decision to do something. This is my conundrum. If you make a firm decision to do something, you do it. I forget about it.
- Determination—firmness of mind or purpose. This is another thing I’m wishy-washy about. I’m only determined about a few things. That’s why most of my resolutions fall by the wayside.
- Expression of collective opinion—a formal expression of the consensus at a meeting, arrived at after discussion and usually as the result of a vote. Last year, under doctor’s orders (consensus at a meeting, arrived at after discussion), I lost 45 pounds. This year I put five back on. I can’t figure out what I’m doing differently. Isn’t losing weight one of everyone’s perennial resolutions?
- Quality of detail in image—the quality of detail offered by a TV or computer screen or a photographic image. Following through on a needed change often adds clarity and quality to your life.
- Separation into constituent parts—the process or act of separating something such as a chemical compound or a source of light into its constituent parts. Sometimes dividing a goal into easily achieved steps is a better way to proceed than focusing on an end result. I have been working on my garage of doom at least an hour once a week, and I have made more progress in the last six months than in the previous twenty-eight years.
- Subsiding of symptoms—the disappearance or coming to an end of a medical symptom or condition. Changing your behavior is often beneficial to your health. For example, making time for exercise. When I don’t have time for a good workout, I spend 30 minutes on the treadmill. My motto is Some is better than none. I am stronger and more energetic than I used to be.
- Final note—the musical note or chord to which the harmony moves when progressing from dissonance to consonance. The final chord is satisfying to the ear. Doing the right thing is also satisfying.
- Part of narrative when conflict is resolved—the point in a literary work when the conflict is resolved. When you commit to working toward a goal, you will eventually experience a turning point. When you’ve invested a significant amount of time and effort, there is no going back.
Maybe the New Year is a good time to examine one’s progress on life’s journey and to recommit to making necessary changes. The Bible tells me that it is God’s will that I be conformed to the image of His Son (see Romans 8:29) and that God, who began a good work in me, will carry it on to completion (see Phillipians 1:6). I can turn my goals over to Him and faithfully submit to His will. He is able to accomplish what I am too weak to do by myself.