To Resolve or Not To Resolve?

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

January. The big month of resolutions. The month where everything seems possible, if we can just resolve to do [it] this year! I know, I know, it’s January 14th already. shouldn’t I have done this last month? Shouldn’t I be 14 days into [awesome new resolution] by now? I’ve read numerous posts and articles on what makes a great resolution and how to make a resolution stick. I have all the tools I need to make a list, check it twice, and then never pick it up again. Oh, no wait…we’re looking for something different this year…

I’m prompted to look at whether to resolve or not to resolve this year by Gwen Bell‘s Mindfulist, albeit a few days late (it was January 1st’s prompt). Maybe there’s a reason I’ve been stuck on this idea.

The thing about resolutions.

You know what? I don’t like resolutions. I don’t want to make a resolution. I won’t. The word leaves a sticky residue on my mind: incomplete ventures with the Gremlins in my head.

Resolution vs. Intention

A rose by any other name is still a rose. A resolution is something I’ve resolved to do; an intention is something I intend to do. The road to hell was paved with good intentions. So what’s the difference? Words are just words, but actions…aren’t those louder than words?

I’ve written resolutions down on a piece of paper or in a blog and then I work on the first one until it doesn’t excite me anymore and then I drop it. Meanwhile, I’ve forgotten everything else on the list because I didn’t plan it out very well. So maybe the issue isn’t with the list, it’s with the plan. Or maybe it’s not with the plan, it’s with my (in)action.

Plan [Intention] vs. Action [Alignment]

I’ve set intentions for myself and moved forward toward goals by having done so. But it’s not just by setting an intention and viola! all of a sudden my intention came to life. In order for an intention to come to life, it requires alignment and action. And usually, alignment actually throws you into action. Ah, but what am I in alignment with

If I’m in alignment with being healthier, then the action I take is getting up off the couch and taking Jackson out for a run at 3:45 as it shows on my schedule to do. If I’m in alignment with being a writer, then I might get myself in a groove and blow right past 3:45 in a fit of fingered frenzy tapping away at my keyboard. Or maybe I’m in alignment with being lazy and procrastinating when 3:45 rolls around and I’m simply jumping from site to site to site while Income Property, Paula’s Home Cooking, All Time MLB Games fly by in the background.

Oh, what to be in alignment with today….

Now [Just-Do-It-ville] vs. Later [Procrastination Street]

So how do you get from doing it later (oh, the fine art of procrastination) to doing it now (without feeling like you’re doing chores your mom gave you or else you’ll get grounded)? Alignment.

What the hell does alignment mean, anyway? It’s whatever connects you to what you want for yourself. For me, the intention is to live a healthy lifestyle. Part of that is eating healthy, exercising regularly, and believing that I already am a healthy person. The alignment, the connection comes from knowing what’s important about each of those pieces to me.

Eating healthy. When I eat healthy—low fat foods, lots of vegetables, plenty of water—I feel good. I wake up easier in the morning, I feel clear headed and ready for my day, and I fell ALIVE!

Exercising regularly. When I exercise regularly—physical activity for 30-40 minutes 3-5 times a week—I sleep well, I’m nice to people, I have energy, I feel good about myself when I step on the scale to check in with myself.

Believing that I’m already a healthy person. This belief about myself reminds me that I have a healthy heart, muscles that are in relatively good working order, joints that work mostly well, eyesight that’s 20/20 (with the help of a ridiculous contact lens prescription), full use of all my limbs, and a clean bill of health (at least, the last time I had that checked out).

When I can connect to why each of these things is important to me, it’s easier to make decisions that help me walk on the path towards each goal (or “thing that I want for myself” if “goal” is too stuffy for you like it sometimes is for me). And it’s easier to do those things now versus later.

I always liked the story about the woman who wanted to get her college degree at age 66 (or something like that) and as she was going over it with someone, she said, “I’m 66 now….do you know how old I’ll be when I graduate?!” and the person replies, “The same age you’ll be if you don’t.”

Time won’t stop marching just because I keep sitting on the couch eating string cheese and watching home improvement and cooking shows (strictly “hypothetical”).

What To Do About It

I’ve quoted Maya Angelou a few times on this: “Ain’t nothin’ to it, but to do it.”

Sometimes I require a gentle nudge: Just go get your socks on and then see if you feel like putting your running shoes on. If you feel like putting your running shoes on, then put your running shorts and a t-shirt on. Then grab your iPod and Jackson and go for a run in your healthy lifestyle!

Sometimes I require a more forceful nudge: Just get off your ass and put your shoes and socks and shorts and t-shirt on…your healthy lifestyle isn’t going to run itself.

And sometimes I require a reality check: Walk your talk, Authenticity Lady…you can go over all the reasons why you don’t want to go for a run when you’re out on your run.

So for me, intentions seem to work better because I feel like I can align myself with my intentions…there’s flexibility in there for being authentic. I’ve also learned that it’s great for me to have a plan, as long as I put it onto action. And now means fun and learning and growing, while later means sitting and stale and stinky.

What works for you in keeping your resolutions/intentions and getting you to Just-Do-It-ville versus hanging out at the donut-shop on Procrastination Street?

Path photo used under Creative Commons license

Previous post:

Next post:

© Authentic Realities 2009-2013 (All content unless otherwise noted). All Rights Reserved.