a firm decision to do or not to do something.
the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.
I don't make resolutions for the new year. A resolution, as defined above, is a firm decision, the act of solving of a problem. Don't get me wrong- if my problems could be solved just by stating their resolution then I most definitely would make my list. But according to (some) statistics, only 8% of people actually keep their resolutions. Of course, this could be seen as somewhat optimistic- the 'if you don't try you'll never succeed' adage. Clearly some of those people who do make resolutions are out there succeeding at them, but my guess is it didn't start and end with a resolution alone.
Because for resolutions to be maintained, they have to be practiced and memorized. Think of it like math, or science, or for me, spelling. Rarely can people learn these things without practice and memorization. The same goes with resolutions, or goals. If we don't practice them, or create strategies to memorize and 'study' them, then they won't be pushed into that unconscious part of our brain which keeps our patters and habits rooted- the same place where habits of looking for something sweet after dinner are, or lying on the couch every evening to 'relax'. The same place that tells you that you have to check your phone first thing in the morning, or make the coffee. Those too are all thing you've been practicing and have already memorized. Those too are kept back in the part of your brain called the basal ganglia. Resolutions, however, start in your prefrontal cortex, the area that houses your willpower, and are kept there until they are pushed to the back through repetition and practice, again and again and again, until finally they're no longer a matter of decision and willpower, but one of habit. This takes 21 days at the minimum, and much much longer for more challenging tasks.
Sounds a bit harder than a simple list of resolutions doesn't it?
So I don't do resolutions. I know what they really entail, and writing a list, let-alone choosing one, isn't how I get the ball rolling. But here's what I do do before the new year: I review my intentions.
a thing intended; an aim or plan.
(MEDICINE) the healing process of a wound.
Intentions say it as it is- an aim or a plan. It's not fixed. It's not hard and fast. It's not even committed. It's a process, a long term journey. It's pointing my compass in the direction I want to go in and making a plan to follow it. It's never failing, only changing course or changing plans through new intentions.
My intentions are rooted in my intuition. They're paths that I've been driven to follow for years. There's nothing new, no light switch to turn on or pill to swallow that will make me a new person- they're part of who I am. When I review and set my intentions for the new year, I'm giving myself time to remember what direction I've always been headed in. I'm not doing them for other people, or outward goals, I'm doing them to heal, to remain connected to who I am, to grow deeper into myself.
I've sent out a short guide to my mailing list to help them assess their intentions for the upcoming year. You can grab your own copy here.
I wish everyone a happy and loving stumble into the New Year. May this be the year you become more of the person you've always intended to be.