Why is the word “resolution” a four-letter word for many every New Year?

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By Vernon A. Williams

It always seems a little peculiar when someone asked about resolutions for the New Year responds as though they just got cursed out.  “I don’t do resolutions,” some boasts as though the very thought is ‘so nineties.’ They often say it with the same smug pomposity of folk who wouldn’t think of replacing their precious I-phone with a woefully pedestrian android.

Resolutions? Many assume intellectual high ground with their prophecy that most who dare to make such commitment utterances part of their conversation at the start of the year will not fulfill stated vows. Some skeptics consider their position a reflection of progressive thinking.

For others, shunning resolutions is far less of a statement and serves only as a choice for a person to opt out of the process. It’s like when a church calls a corporate fast and a devoted member chooses not to participate. That alone won’t doom the person to hell. It’s a choice. Some just don’t want to get involved in making resolutions with no philosophical objectives.

Okay It is probably true that most resolutions are not strictly adhered to over the course of a year. But my question remains, what is the harm?

I went to the dictionary to more clearly delineate for myself and others the true meaning of RESOLUTION. I wondered if there was some diabolical subtleties or double-meaning that I didn’t ascertain. Here are meanings I found for resolution:

  1. A decision to do something or to behave in a certain manner.
  2. Finding a solution to a problem.
  3. To gain a clearer image of things that are close together.
  4. Analysis of a situation into clear-cut component.

Something settled or resolved, the outcome of decision-making.

It is hard to imagine a more innocuous word. Why in the world would a folk recoil in astonishment, resentment or rebuke when simply asked what, if any, resolutions they plan to make for the ensuing year.

In my mind, given the definition, it seems more of a subtle strategy or soft goals. There is no ‘resolution police’ to come knocking at your door if you fall short of stated objectives. And if the plan was to lose 40 pounds and you managed to lose only 25, in no way is that failure.

Most would much rather embark on a road trip to unfamiliar destinations an hour or two late than the next day or not at all. Even if some aspects of some plans don’t work out to the letter, how in the world is it better not to plan at all?

For cool folk who counter that resolutions meaningless because actions speak louder than words, your fundamental point is inarguable. But for most it is a better idea to use a road map or GPS when venturing into unfamiliar territory. It’s just better to have a plan and not need it than to need one and not have it.

And like maps and the GPS, it helps to determine benchmarks to assess progress along your journey, whether it is to quit smoking, exercise more or watch less television. Verifiable results provide inspiration and encouragement. Resolutions can do the same.

I’m really not trying to change anyone’s mind. If you detest resolutions and the people that make them, stick to your position if it makes you feel better. I am just trying to let you and others like you know that if you opt back in- to the process of making resolutions, it is okay. It makes sense.

Raise your hand if you know that it is true that people OVER THINK situations, circumstances, and actions. I see you. The average person can talk him or herself out of doing anything if they try long enough. Sometimes we need to simplify – not complicate – life and living. Take it easy. Everything doesn’t have to be profound or have deeper meaning.

If you don’t do anything else in 2019, try to relax more.

Just think. Things were never as bad as you thought they were in the past because the Lord was with you every step of the journey. And know that no matter how daunting, things will never be as fearful or challenging as you anticipate in the future, because He will never forsake you.

Stretch out this year and don’t be so cautious not to exceed your comfort zone. Don’t set expectations so high that you fail to appreciate progress. Don’t let others limit you by their limited thinking. Cast off baggage of doubt, anger, resentment, fear, sorry, and regret. Forgive others and yourself moving forward – refusing to look back.

Never underestimate the difference one person can make. And in any troubling encounter remember, if God brought you to it – He will see you through it.

Finally, if you made resolutions – be serious but not psychotic. Just do the best that you can. If you did not make any resolutions, with love I suggest that you gently reconsider. May God bless you one and all throughout 2019 and may your every tomorrow turn out to be best day of your life!

CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION  by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society.Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: vernonawilliams@yahoo.com.

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