Happy New Year solutions - How are your resolutions doing two weeks into the new year?
Someone once told me that we shouldn't say happy New Year after the first week of January, so I thought I'd share with you a different perspective on the concept of New Year resolutions.
I'm sure you've heard the statistics about New Year resolutions - how many people make them, how many keep them, how many ditch them very quickly and some even in the first day of the year. But what are resolutions? Where did they come from? Why do we even make them when most of us simply can't or won't keep them?
I invite you to take a few minutes to read about resolutions and their roots and to offer you an opportunity to explore how coaching could help.
Allow yourself to be open to these thoughts and be curious as to how they might help you be intentional and successful in your resolutions this year. And, get a better understanding of the importance of language in all areas of your life, especially in managing yourself for excellence in 2017.
Most people are simply not aware of the language they use. For example, take the phrase "New Year's resolutions." For most of us, when we make them we do so as a form of proclamation, not resolution. Most people might believe that in their own mind, they really do mean resolution as in "firmness of purpose" or "definite or earnest determination," and so as I was reflecting on my own resolutions, I began to wonder about the true meaning of the word resolution.
I know a lot of people (including myself) who it would seem simply appear to just be trying to do what didn't work last year or the X number of times they tried it before. If you really look at the word "resolution", you may notice that it contains the idea of "re-solution." And that is exactly what is needed - a new solution to a situation, rather than just another re-iteration of an old one that didn't work before.
After all, most of us already have the resolution (as in determination/motivation). What we need now are New Year's solutions or put another way, new solutions this year. Repeat that a couple of times to yourself for a moment.
How does that feel? Does it take your thinking in a new direction?
While this is not necessarily a solution (individual results may vary), conceiving of something in a new way necessarily changes it. With sufficient changes, entirely new qualities emerge. How about taking an etymological (word origins) approach to the word "resolution"?
It comes from the 15th century Latin resolutio which means the "process of reducing things into simpler forms." So, a New Year's resolution would be a process, not a declaration, an investigation, not a proclamation. Instead of saying "my resolutions," as if they were some of your unused possessions, you would investigate what your unwanted habit/behaviour really is or what is causing the lack of a more positive, enriching habit/behaviour.
Maybe objects, actions, images, ideas, emotions or some combination of these are the thing or things that generate the situation. Investigate what works and what doesn't work. What is it in its simplest form? What does that point to as the next action to take? Notice how this shifts your attention. In this process, you become a kind of investigator or detective, searching for clues.
Try out these different roles (and others). They will increase your perspectives. Starting to get any thoughts as to how you might make some changes? Taking the etymology back further, the origin of resolutio is the Latin word resolvere meaning "to loosen, undo, settle," and the root of that is solvere meaning "to loosen, free, release, dissolve."
I'm sure you will have noticed the word "solve" in this string of words. How does doing a New Year's solve change your thinking in contrast to a New Year's resolution? What comes to mind when you think about loosening an unwanted habit/behaviour instead of resolving to overcome it? Or what happens when you think about releasing a desired habit into your life instead of trying to force it into existence?
Each of these are simply different ways of bringing ideas into the light of day but think for a moment about the power of this difference.
If you take that thinking a stage further, you really need to engage in resolutio to experience the resolvere. You might describe this as "word magic", and in a sense, you would be right. One aspect of our human ability to adapt and change is to re-conceive existing ideas by re-languaging them – whether they are considered unwanted habits/behaviours or desired habits/behaviours.
However, in our everyday language, we tend to use the most common, conventional, and convenient terms. Look at the language of texting for example, LOL! This does mean that we can feel and can communicate with and understand each other better. However, the downside to this is that our thoughts are mostly just like everyone else's thoughts.
If language were truly our master, we would be guided to the processes that find the simpler form of things and allow us to loosen, undo, release and dissolve our difficulties and fulfil our desires. However, we are not even the masters of ourselves, as our yearly New Year's resolutions charade demonstrates.
So, if this article exploring the meaning of the word "resolution" has prompted you to experience a new thought, perspective, or additional idea about your New Year's re-solutions, then so much the better.
Whether this has released something, freed up your thinking, or simply loosened a few conventional ideas, it is a demonstration that we can, if we are interested and willing to make the effort, make some significant use of language to help us change the way we think about things and thus, the way we do things.
So, as you reflect (or not) on how all of this could possibly be relevant to you, I invite you to take a few more moments to think about the way you currently do things in your life and how you might resolve to improve what you do and how you do it in the coming year?
So, re-solve to have a happy, healthy and peaceful new year!
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About Michael Holland
Mike Holland is the owner of Mind Being You.
He is a highly qualified and experienced, fully accredited trainer and master practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), a fully qualified and registered clinical hypnotherapist and an advanced practitioner of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT/Tapping).