Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Resolve to have Resolution!

Today's writing blog is a gripe about semantics.

"Resolution" is a great word. A perfectly fine word. A strong word, a word of function.

But in the past few days I've heard no less than a dozen people saying to throw the poor word out the window. Don't make "resolutions;" you will break them. In fact, at least three different newsletters or blogs (I won't name names, but they are ones I follow regularly) equated a resolution to a "wish," just a "wish."

Now, because www.dictionary.com actually uses a up-to-date entries for words, let me copy-paste a few of them for "resolution."

1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.
2. A resolving to do something.
3. A course of action determined or decided on.

(from American Heritage)

1. a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club, or other group. Compare concurrent resolution, joint resolution.
2. a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.
3. the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
4. the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.
5. the act or process of resolving or separating into constituent or elementary parts.

(from Random House)

In fact, here's some etymology for you, too:

1412, "a breaking into parts," from L. resolutionem (nom. resolutio) "process of reducing things into simpler forms," from pp. stem of resolvere "loosen" (see resolve). Originally sense of "solving" (as of mathematical problems) first recorded 1548, that of "holding firmly" (in resolute) 1533, and that of "decision or expression of a meeting" is from 1604.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper

It doesn't sound like wishing to me. It sounds like making a well-developed plan!

In fact, there's an awful lot of quantifying involved, too, contradictory to what too many people are assuming about this word "resolution."

I agree with everyone who says to make solid, quantifiable goals, follow-up with yourself, be accountable: make a plan!

It's stupid to pin the lackthereof on a word - especially a word that actually means making a firm plan to change and breaking things into achievable goals.

It's like that "political correctness" that suggests if you redefine contracts with Native Americans or American Indians, it's not the same as stealin' land from Injuns. (And if you think it's still not happening, go talk to some 'Injuns.' Changing a few words - and their names - really helped them.)

Getting rid of the word "resolution," doesn't deal with fact that most people, themselves, don't intend to keep resolutions. The word is not the action, and changing the word isn't going to change the behavior. If you really mean to keep your resolution, you'd be planning ahead, starting from before Christmas. And you'd already have a plan forming for what you are going to do and what you can do - realistic understanding of oneself is key! - to make these goals happen.

I've been reorganizing my desk, my records, my profits and losses, for most of the month - some even since September! For health goals, we've got a Wii and my husband and I are making some exercise and eating plans.

Of course, on the business side, I've been putting together these goals and plans for my annual blog-write-up of it. :) This gives me an extra edge of accountability.

What concrete plans have you made so you can follow through with your resolutions?


Kelly A. Harmon said...

Hi Trish! I stopped making resolutions a long time ago. They didn't work for me...I make goals for the new year. But you're right...I think it all boils down to semantics. I exceeded my goals for 2009...did you? I'm upping the ante for 2010!

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