New Year’s Resolution is an Oxymoron

Posted · Add Comment

I’ve been saving up my energy for this one.

Doesn’t it bother you that New Year’s Resolution is an oxymoron?  I know that there’s always been something about it that bothers me.

Now I know you weren’t necessarily tuning in to this blog for a rant, but trust me on this one when you think about the true nature of a “resolution.”  A resolution is the conclusion to something.  The act of finishing.  The wrap up to something that has already begun.  But we’re only a few days into the new year and our grand proclamation is to talk about the end.

Wouldn’t New Year’s Declaration or New Year’s Intention just seem a little bit more solid?  Something that indicates we’re at the beginning rather than the end?

It’s not to say that we shouldn’t “begin with the end in mind,” but let’s not kid ourselves.  There’s nothing final yet about 2015.  Why do we use these words to tie into the New Year?

“The concept of New Year’s Resolutions actually began as early as pre-Christian times, formerly set in March by the Babylonians but then changed to January by the Romans.  The Romans changed the month to January to represent the Roman god Janus, a two-faced god who looks backwards into the old year and into the new.  (Source and fantastically interesting blog by historian, Bill Petro, is available here.)”

The practice, in and of itself, is to look at the year that is behind us, contemplating that which has happened and setting future goals based on what came before.

Let’s be clear, however.  Your past can be a pretty poor indicator of your future.  In fact, one of the biggest traps that you can fall into in this new year, or ANY new year, is to be projecting that which has come and gone into what is yet to be.

Each day we are faced with the unique opportunity of creating a new and different reality.  Some of us choose to create that reality from a place of choice, while others are mired in the frustrating practice of seeing future potential through the tiny and unsatisfying lens of “what we’ve done until now.”

The far more powerful indicator of what’s possible actually lies within choice.  Your choices have brought you to this point and they will inevitably decide where you end up in the future.  The life you live in this exact moment is simply the sum total of past decisions and your present thinking or mindset.  Sadly, they’re also typically referenced within the confines of security and comfort.

The types of intention setting or goal setting exercises that will truly put you in a new place in life, or grow you out of your existing ones, are the ones based in a vision that is far outside of your comfort zone.  Getting there will certainly require the type of effective, incremental change I advocated in previous blogs.

So what truly creates a good vision that can facilitate rapid transformation and/or expansion:

  1. The vision is outside of your traditional comfort zone.
  2. The vision will require you to learn or build something new in yourself.
  3. The vision is larger than you alone.

I challenge you to compare your resolution or goals for the year to these three questions.  Are you stretching yourself, or are you confining yourself in “what was” versus what “could be?”

If not, now is the opportunity to think bigger.  What do you REALLY want?  And how will you make it happen from the place of potential rather than the place of familiarity?

I’m looking forward to discovering that answer together.