Commitment vs resolutions
‘Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness …’
What transforms resolutions into actions? Is there a magic ingredient?
The popular tradition of making New Year resolutions has some of its origins in Ancient Babylon and Rome. The Babylonians would typically return farm equipment that they had borrowed during the year, while in Caesar’s time Janus became the symbol for resolutions because he had two faces that could look to the past and into the future.
The early Christians believed the first day of the New Year should be spent reflecting on past mistakes and resolving to improve oneself in the New Year. There is something about entering ‘into’ the New Year that has appealed to the people throughout the world and over the centuries, as a time for: considering new beginnings, doing things ‘right’ from this new day forward and setting out towards self-improvements.
‘Making resolutions is a cleansing ritual of self-assessment and repentance that demands personal honesty and, ultimately, reinforces humility. Breaking them is part of the cycle.’ Eric Zorn
Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits. And so it continues today as we make New Year resolutions to try and improve some aspect of ourselves in the coming year. We all get into the swing of things around the start of the year making resolutions that more often than not gradually fizzle out as the year gets underway. ‘A new year resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.’ Anon
However it still continues to be a tradition to make resolutions as the New Year begins. Mark Twain offers this perspective … ‘New year’s Day …. now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.’ In fact we often ask family, friends, colleagues what resolutions they are going to make. We often proudly announce the resolutions we are going to make. How often do we remember the ones from last year and challenge the resolution maker regarding a re-run in which nothing has changed during the past 12 months. They all sound good … but do they become good in reality? In fact, a recent study found that 22% of people give up on their resolution in the first week and by the end of March more than half of New Year resolvers have fallen off the bandwagon. Oscar Wilde declared that ‘Good resolutions are simply cheques that men draw on a bank where they have no account.’
So back to the dictionary to check what resolution actually means! And with thanks to dictionary.com … Resolution is from the Latin resolution, resolution – from resolvere meaning ‘to loosen or dissolve again,’ (re- + solver) which was the original meaning of resolve. The meaning ‘to determine or decide upon a course of action, etc.’ was first used in English around 1523. Interesting how the meanings of words subtly change over time.
So how does commitment fit into the picture? Has it a place in the drama that is called resolution? Well … in the words of Goethe ‘Whatever you can do or dream you can, Begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it. Begin it now!’ And to continue the quote, created by WH Murray, that began this article ‘Concerning all acts of initiative and creation there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man or woman could have dreamed would have come their way.’
Merriam Webster Online dictionary describes commitment as ‘an agreement or pledge to do something in the future; especially: an engagement to assume a financial obligation at a future date b: something pledged c: the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally impelled <a commitment to a cause>.’ Interesting how there is a formal element implied.
R + C + A = SR
Resolution (determine or decide) + Commitment (agreement, pledge, obligation) + Action = Successful Result.
How would it be if on the last stroke of midnight from Big Ben, not only did you declare your resolution/s but also made a commitment to yourself to take the first step towards a successful result this time? What would be the impact if you only made resolutions regarding things that truly touched your heart this time? If you not only declared them but also wrote them down with a date attached this time, how might that change your perspective? Who could you be if you always walked your talk? If you took R + C + A = SR into all areas of your life throughout the year how might that make a difference? If you only made resolutions, agreements, promises that were I alignment with your values what shift might that make possible?
Take a moment to consider this: if the resolutions you share in a moment of euphoria on New Year’s Eve or at the start of the year actually had a legal dimension attached to them, which would you still go for and which would you drop like hot potatoes?
You can also check out your R + C + A = SR by using a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is highly unlikely and 10 is absolutely no question. You can also make your best guess as to which will stay the course.
The crucial aspect of this is to invite yourself to be your best success of the year. Begin it now! Let us help!
(first published January 2009 in Lloyds Banking Group’s The Sales Professional)
Halina Jaroszewska, PCC ICF Executive Development | Discovering the difference | Exploring Potential