Nothing gets me up on my soap box more quickly than talk of “resolutions” and the various substitutes we now call in for resolutions: intentions, goals, vision. I’ve found that none of these can adequately carry the load of accomplishing major things and creating sustainable change.
In the commotion over goals and resolutions, we overlook the one tool that can shield us from distractions and pave the way to incredible results.
The Problem With Resolutions and Intentions
My issue with resolutions largely stems from the way in which the term are misunderstood and misapplied.
Most people who speak about “making resolutions“ have a list of many things that they (maybe) want to do in the future. It’s passive, amorphous, vague, and non-committal. An ”agreement to agree.”
When the time is right, I’ll do that thing. When I’m ready, I’ll do that thing.
There’s no consequence for not keeping the resolution. By consequence, I don’t mean “punishment” or external accountability. I mean emotional consequence. You might be disappointed but it won’t really shake you much.
The most common response to the topic of resolutions is to shift the focus to something else. The three most common shifts are:
- Turn resolutions in goals (itself another can of worms) by making them more specific (i.e., “SMART” goals);
- Reframe resolutions as “intentions,” a concept even more non-committal than “resolutions.”
- Broaden the focus to the higher level “vision.”
Goals, intentions, and vision have their places. But they are all different from what most people are truly seeking with resolutions. Instead of turning resolutions into something else, what if your tried a different tactic: getting to the core of what’s beneath the resolution.
The Shift From Resolutions to Resolve
Instead of “making resolutions,” try swapping out the passive for the active: resolve.
Resolution is a noun. It’s a thing. It’s passive. Corporations and companies pass “resolutions.”
But deep within resolutions lies a seed of action, a spark of determination, a refusal to stick with the status quo. Beneath every “resolution” lies the seed of resolve.
Resolve is a verb. An “action” word.
To resolve something means “to settle or find a solution to (a problem, dispute, or contentious matter).” It means to “decide firmly on a course of action.”
When you resolve something, it’s final.
Resolve also means “to make clear or understandable.” Anything you resolve has no ambiguity to it.
In the context of music, to resolve means to make the various parts progress from dissonance to consonance..
When you resolve something, you settle it; you clarify it; you bring it into harmony.
When you resolve, there’s no turning back to the discordance of the prior state.
Merriam-Websters dictionary notes that
RESOLVE implies an expressed or clear decision or determination to do or refrain from doing something.
This is not just a wish or an intention; not merely a goal. To decide means to cut off. Once you’ve resolved, you have no other options. Your only option is to find a way.
Intentions and goals simply aren’t strong enough to support you in making sustainable changes or even bringing a big idea into form. All sustainable behavior changes and major accomplishments are born from a place of resolve.
The Superpower of Resolve
As a noun, resolve means “fixity of purpose.” The ability to harness resolve is like a superpower.
It is the single most powerful catalyst of change and accomplishment that I’ve discovered.
When I’m connected to my resolve, I don’t think about distracting myself by checking email or social media. The television stays off (as mine has since May 2017). I don’t need to block my internet.
Resolve focuses and motivates. It eliminates the distractions and diversions of modern life. It holds you accountable to yourself.
When you resolve for real, everything else falls away.
Where to Get Resolve
One of the most potent sources of resolve is a source that most people ignore. I’ll share that in the next post.
If this topic interests you, you’ll get a lot of value from The Ritual Revolution.