As we move into 2020 and people begin making their list of New Year’s resolutions, I’d like to challenge you to take a moment and think about what it really means.
Most common of course, people think of a resolution as a decision to do (or not do something). But in addition, we can seek for resolution – the resolve of a dispute or argument. In music, a resolve is moving from discordant notes into concord over the course of changing harmony. There’s no question that our country feels divided – politically, socially, and the communities in which we live are in becoming more insular than ever. It is not uncommon for people to believe that they ought to unfriend, block, or mute those who have views they don’t agree with on a regular basis. Of course, the remedy to this is having resolution, the intention of making of amends. As I argued on the TEDxBend stage, apathy is not compatible with love. Compassion requires resolve.
As a former photographer (and camera salesman), I often think of cameras when I hear the term resolution – the higher the resolution on a device, the clearer picture that you’ll get. What a delightful coincidence that the year 2020 can highlight the need for clear vision. If you indeed have a list of goals or achievements, you’ll need to have a vision – something tangible that can be pursued. I’ve long stated that these goals should be SMARTER – an expanded version of the common acronym of SMART Goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely – that should also involve Everyone close to you and be Revisited often. That’s because I believe that your resolutions should include accountability and be on top of mind often.
Chemistry offers us some insight along the same lines. In that field of science, resolution is the process of reducing or separating something into its components. If you have a grand vision or goal, it’s easiest achieved when it is broken down into specific, smaller steps, so that you can gain momentum and measure progress. After all, it’s easier to write a 300 page book over a year when you have a daily goal of writing one page or to lose one pound per week over 3 months than to be intimidated by a looming, ominous target.
There are many ways to think about a New Year’s resolution. In addition to having the intention of accomplishment, let’s add one clear commitment: the resolution to begin. Be it relationships that need resolving or having the courage of honest self-awareness, have the resolve to bring that 2020 vision for your life into reality instead of just letting it be as an unchecked list.
Happy New Year!