Resolution and Resolve

So it’s New Year’s, that arbitrary yet persistently meaningful occasion when, after a few months of holiday excess, we take it upon ourselves to reflect on the year gone by, and to commit ourselves to improvement or at very least change in the year to come.

My list of particular resolutions is much the same as everyone else’s. Suffice to say it involves being healthier and more focused on what gives my life meaning, and setting aside habits that keep me from doing that as well as I could. I am resolved, in short, to be a better, more useful, more productive person than I have been.

In thinking on my New Year’s resolutions I got to thinking of the dual meaning of the word ‘resolution’ itself. This time of year, it means mostly a formalizing of resolve, a determination that things will change, become a certain way. But it also means fidelity in the rendering of a signal (think a high-resolution video screen), in which the higher the resolution, the clearer the picture that’s rendered. I think it’s useful to keep both definitions in mind when contemplating a mindful personal evolution.

Mindful personal evolution means changing who you are as a person in some meaningful way, which can be really, really hard to do. There’s great comfort in familiarity, and it’s the easiest thing in the world to fall into old habits rather than risk the uncertainty of doing something different. Without a clear vision of not only who you want to become but also why you aren’t already that person, the will to change alone will only get you so far. I’ll give you a personal example: Continue reading “Resolution and Resolve”