Every year, we make New Year’s resolutions. It’s almost as big a tradition as the holidays itself. Another year is just beginning. Why not make this one different? Take a leap and don’t make a resolution—instead, make a commitment.
A resolution means “a firm decision to do or not to do something.”
Making a commitment involves dedicating yourself to something, like a person or a cause. Before you make a commitment, think carefully. A commitment obligates you to do something.
What is the difference between a resolution and a commitment? One is an intention and the other is an action. There is power in the way we express things. Saying, “I will lose 10 pounds in the next 4 months” is different from “I am losing weight, and this is how I am going to make that happen.” The focus here is “will” instead of “am” A commitment is primarily about your relationship to yourself and the consequences will impact you as well as others.
Although the difference is subtle it is still important. Our intentions will never materialize unless we create an action plan that can be followed day by day. First, you decide and then you commit.
For example, suppose losing weight is the decision. Well then, start by doing the work: eating less, eating right, and exercising—or whatever it takes to get the job done. Don’t bother telling someone else what your resolution is. Just show them instead. We all like to tell others what we are going to do, but wouldn’t it be better to get a compliment on observable change? When you’ve got a new number on your scale or different size clothing, that’s progress no one can dispute.
Relationships are something we all discuss with our friends, but how many of us are really trying to improve relationships? What do you really need? What can you compromise on? What aspects of your relationship are under your control, and what is beyond your control? If you know what you want, what are you committed to doing to make that happen? Do you want to be a better listener, a more effective supporter, be less controlling, more available for family time, or share more compliments and fewer criticisms? Well then, do it! Don’t just resolve to do it.
You may feel that if you make a resolution verbally, then you are off to a good start. That’s not always true. Sometimes resolutions are merely nice-sounding words that make us feel better about ourselves or the future without asking much of us. Remember the phrase from the Alcoholics Anonymous: Don’t talk the talk but walk the walk.
2020 is on its way. We can do something different, or we just can talk about doing something different. You have the power to choose. What will it be?