Tis the season for resolutions—a fascinating tradition that occurs at the beginning of every New Year and inspires our imaginations with hope, possibility, and a new will to power. A season when we have an opportunity to wipe away the old and raise up the new, with one stroke of the clock.
If it sounds too simple, than it probably is. We know that when the party ends and the vacation is over, and most of the college football bowl games have been played, the real New Year begins. We get back into the daily grind, returning to work, to school, to life and all of the issues that did not seem to disappear with the toll of the twelfth bell just a few nights ago.
We are a week back into reality now. How are your resolutions fairing? Or were you too stubborn to make any resolutions?
Whether you testified to anyone regarding your resolutions, or you’re the Scrooge of the New Year and are above such petty traditions, there are some key insights on one’s self, through the idea of resolutions that may be worth pondering before you get lost in the whirlwind of this new year.
The very term, resolution, implies that there is some sort of conflict in our lives. Some habit or trivial pursuit that does not align with our core values and seeks to threaten our good will and service to others. Before a person can begin to set and keep a resolution, they must first clearly define the conflicts of their personal or professional lives, before they can set any course toward setting a reasonable resolution.
Unfortunately, many of us treat resolutions like a penny being tossed into a wishing well, a blind hope that perhaps that some miracle will occur by casting our burdens upon a streak of time in the night sky, as if the new number on the year of our calendars will magically help us achieve our wildest dreams. Often, we begin setting goals that aren’t measureable, trackable, or even reasonable—a lukewarm prayer at best. But good Self Leaders are able to come up with a simple plan on how they will achieve their goals/resolutions for the year, and then find a means (a project at work or a hobby in your personal time) applied toward that end. In fact, it is through the means that resolutions are most effectively achieved.
Recently my teenage daughter (that is as much a confession as a proclamation of joy) boldly announced that she was going to audition for the lead role in a local performance of the classic tale, Cinderella. The competition was steep, and she knew it, but decided to step out in faith and resolve that she would give it her all in achieving this goal, and allow destiny to take its course. What she learned from previous auditions is that the dream cannot simply be a declaration of your resolution. There were many hours of voice lessons, dance lessons, acting lessons, and strange gargling sounds from some healing potion that would come from her room at all hours of the night. Through hard work, a few set backs, consistent effort, and a dedication to the end goal through a variety of means, she achieved her goal.
Resolutions are good! But as all things that are good, they are also hard. It’s not too late to set a resolution for this year. But even more importantly, set your mind on resolving the major or minor conflicts in your personal and professional lives through productive and consistent means. Learn to love the process of achieving the resolution. Be persistent, even after failure to achieve your resolution with some silly notion of perfection. This is the very notion of a resolution—a resolve or determination. In every great story, there is a great conflict, and often even a great battle or two before the lead character resolves that conflict and achieves a new level of goodness—for themselves and those that serve. Be resolved this year!
Jason Diamond Arnold
Co-Author of Situational Self Leadership in Action
The Ken Blanchard Companies