Estimated Lesson Time: 4 minutes
January 1, the date when millions of people around the world make what they call “New Year’s resolutions.” January 3, the date that about 50% of those people “fall off the wagon.” By April 1, more than 90% of those “resolution” makers decided that their “resolutions” were not that important after all. Most people make New Year’s resolutions as frivolously as deciding what to watch on television. Even if you are one of the few with the best intentions of keeping to your commitment, if you can’t resolve to do something right now, the chances are you won’t do it in the new year.
Resolution is defined as the state or quality of being resolute—firm determination. A resolution is not a goal, or not something that you “try” to do; it is something you do. When you make a resolution, there is no turning back, and failure to stick to your resolution is not an option. Most true resolutions are made in moments of inspiration or desperation. It is like a moment of pure clarity when you just know that you do not just want to do something, but must do something. To find this moment of inspiration and clarity, arm yourself with enough reasons why you are committed to this resolution.
Resolutions can be divided into two general categories: the “give up” resolutions and the “to do” resolutions, each with their own specific ways to help ensure successful resolutions.
The “give up” resolution. When you resolve to give something up, you must have a reasonable substitute prepared. The better the substitute, (the more pleasurable and less painful) the more successful the resolution will be. For example, if you resolve to give up drinking cola and other carbonated, sugared or artificially sweetened beverages, then have a drink ready to substitute—hopefully one that is better for your health.
The “to do” resolutions. Although resolutions should not be confused with goals that you may or may not reach, resolutions, like goals, must be as specific as possible. A resolution such as “get in shape” is very vague where no specific actions are given. However, a resolution to “jog on the treadmill for at least five miles a day, four days a week” is much better.
For any resolution, realize that once it becomes a habit, it becomes much easier to adhere to. How long something takes to become a habit depends on both the person and the something. As time passes, the uncomfortable feeling of change inevitably subsides.
There is a law that can be your best friend or worst enemy when it comes to resolutions. This is the law of momentum. An automobile uses more gas to get going than it does to maintain its current speed. Like an automobile, resolutions take more energy to begin than they do to maintain. If you were to step on the gas repeatedly, then jam on brakes, you would not get very far before running out of gas. The same holds true for your resolutions. Once you resolve to do something, conserve energy and stick with it.
A resolution is not a goal; it is a commitment backed by firm determination. When you resolve to do or not to do something, you remove all other options. If you can’t start your New Year’s resolutions right now, the chances are you will not be able to keep them in the new year, and your “resolutions” are nothing more than items on your wish list that will most likely remain there year after year. You have got the will power and the ability inside you—make true resolutions right now.
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)