What does the word, "resolution" actually mean? Funny, if you think about it, most of us have made one, but have we considered what we are actually doing? Where we are going? As the first new moon of the new year arrives, this is a good time to reflect on the standard practice of New Year's resolutions. And just maybe, this year, you will actually be able to accomplish something that has likely eluded you to some extent in the past.
To begin, let's take the word apart. "Reso" means to loosen our attachment and to break things down into parts, and "lut," to hold firmly onto deeper truth. How ironic then that we get so attached to our resolutions -- an oxymoron for sure, especially if our resolutions do not have deeper meaning. And that's the problem I think most of us have. Our resolutions do not typically reflect the answer to the question about where we are going, for instance, where would we go if our health and vitality were restored. In this way, even good ideas -- such as losing weight by dieting or shedding unwanted habits -- by themselves are not sufficient. If we are not clear on the deeper value, we may not get very far.
To understand the meaning of the word is to understand what a good resolution would be. And before you come up with a final answer, ask yourself several more questions, starting with: Why would I want to do that, and what would happen if I achieved that? What would be next? Keep drilling down until you are at the core. My guess is that you will find yourself in a place where you would be asking a question about what you really care about. Why you are here. Why you have the skills you have and why you've had the challenges you've had.
With this realization I think you will find your soul center, so critical to getting where you want to be. Remember what we said before: "To know where you're going, you must know where you've been."
Pursuing a more authentic resolution is ultimately not only going to get results, but those results will last and not come crashing down as so often happens with typical resolutions like weight loss, giving up chocolate, working out every day, etc. When the focus is so much on these arbitrary things, we allow what we really want and what is really valuable to pass us by. We must look at our resolutions in a more skillful context and determine what it is that needs to change in order to reach something of even greater value. Only then will we get there. There is no quick fix, but there are certainly things you can do that will waste your time. Instead of focusing on losing 25 pounds, focus on making the right decisions when you're eating so that you can live longer and healthier and experience more great moments with the people you love and care for.
And once again, what would you do if your health was completely restored? That is the real question, and I would suggest you keep that in mind as you weigh each option. Creating a sustainable resolution, and one that will actually get us something durable in return, is a much more realistic process when we know what we want and take the small steps and ask the right questions to get there.
And, one more thing. when we aim to loosen our attachment to resolutions themselves, we tighten our commitment to live more skillfully -- a good resolution in and of itself.
For more by Dr. Michael Finkelstein, click here.
For more on wisdom, click here.