Together We Will Endure

A Resolution on Resolutions

Posted on January 01, 2022

I have not been particularly fond of New-Year's-resolutions. They seem to be limiting in both the timeliness of their implementation as well as their desired outcome. I have never quite understood why a person would wait until the 1st of January to do something that they clearly want to do in the present moment and I have found myself bored with the 1 dimensional goals of drinking less alcohol or reading more books (which by the way are two of my pursuits this year, so please don’t think that I am suggesting these are bad). I just believe that there is a more engaging and worthwhile approach to making long lasting change.

Instead of pontificating about the philosophical implications revolved around waiting for the ‘right time’ to begin the journey towards achieving a particular goal or attempt to impose some sort of moralistic yard-stick to measure the virtue of a particular resolution, I would like to discuss my new outlook on New-Year’s-resolutions.

As I mentioned before, I have found popular resolutions to be one dimensional and limiting in the outcome of their achievement. What I mean is that they tend to fall into one of several categories. There is the “don’t/ not going to” category. As in, “I’m not going to drink on weekdays”. There is the “achieve by this date” category. As in, “I’m going to lose/gain x-amount of weight by this date”. There is also the “daily” category. As in, “I’m going to journal/read/meditate daily”. All of which I find to be somewhat single minded. This is not to say that any of these are bad resolutions. In fact, most of us might do well to remove certain vices, set timely goals, and make healthy daily habits for ourselves. My quarrel with these types of resolutions revolves more around the reason for doing them in the first place.

Why? Why do you want to get more sleep? Why do you want to clean up your diet? Why do you want to spend less time on your phone? I won't attempt to answer this question for you, as I do not begin to assume that I know the answer, but I will suggest that it has something to do with the person that you want to be. For myself, I want to be a person that lives in curiosity and is interested in exploring the world around me. My method of living into this type of personhood is where my “one-dimensional” goals come in. This winter I am taking dance lessons with Moriah and learning how to ski. I am also relearning the guitar and taking up rock climbing again. I am also making plans to read more regularly (and read more diversely). Many of you know that I am pursuing firefighting, so several of my fitness pursuits for this year revolve around preparing myself for the requirements of that job. My actions are a representation of my desire.

Last year I had a one-dimensional goal of getting stronger. I sought to achieve this goal through powerlifting and I even competed in a local meet. I had a blast during the process and I certainly don’t regret the journey but I did begin to make certain concessions in my life. I started to embody the “powerlifting persona”; I squatted in high tops, I justified eating like a glutton, I passed on workouts with friends because ‘cardio kills gains’. I let my goal determine the type of person I wanted to be. This year I am flipping that thought process on its head.

This year I would encourage you to look at your resolution a bit differently. By all means, cut down on the sweets, drink less coffee, or spend more time volunteering. I’m just suggesting that you determine your why before you set your what.