Why I No Longer Dread Resolutions


The word “resolution” used to make my skin crawl.

When people would ask me what my resolutions were for the upcoming year, in most cases, I would stare at them blankly, and tell them I didn’t believe in them. I just felt if you wanted to do or not do something, you made a plan, and did it. However, over the past couple of years, I’ve changed my rationale about this. Maybe it’s because of my single father status. Maybe, it’s because I’m getting older. But, I have learned a few nuggets so perhaps I will share those.

The word “resolution” is defined as…a firm decision to do or not to do something. Fair enough. Seems like a goal wrapped in a pretty bow, doesn’t it? But, to be resolute about something does seem to imply something deeper. At least it does for me.

Setting goals can be straight forward. I was taught to use the S.M.A.R.T. system (Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic, Time Based). I’ve seen variations through the years but, you get the idea. So many people make resolutions, only to break them shortly thereafter. So, why is that? I want to share some thoughts that I have learned that may have you think differently as you set your own resolutions for the coming years. I call them my MAKE IT METHODS.

I believe in the K.I.S.S. principle too (keep it simple stupid) …because I’m simple and…well, you know. I truly believe that if a resolution isn’t rooted firmly in your heart (not just your head), if will be very difficult for you to achieve it. So, let’s get started:

Make it Personal
Not all resolutions are personal, unless they are rooted to something personal. That personal aspect will help stay strongly focused on the achievement of resolution itself. I ask myself a very strong question…WHY? Why is the resolution important? As an example, if a person wanted to stop smoking. Why? Because they want to be in better shape. Why? Because they want to live longer? Why? Because they want to spend more time with their kids and keep up to them? Why? Because they love them and they are all they have left. Now, the resolution is taking root into something important. You can “why” every resolution to death to give you a list that turns into roots that you can water and make grow. It’s easy to say that you want to get in better shape, but ask yourself “why” repeatedly so you can root that in solid ground.

Make it Controllable
Two years ago, I learned a valuable lesson about this very issue. I had a set a resolution that my divorce was going to be finalized that year. Everything seemed to going along fine. Wrong! The mistake I made was that I couldn’t control the other side. I could only control mine. So, as the year progressed, it was very apparent that it wasn’t going to happen and I started beating myself up. One night, I was out with a friend and we were discussing it. He said, “Well, it’s your own fault. Why would set yourself up for failure. You can only control your side, not hers. You know better.” He was right, rookie move. So, make sure you can control that which you want to accomplish. On a side note, a true friend will tell you what you need to hear and seldom what you want to hear. Thank heavens for great friends.

Make it About Growth
My Dad used to say, “nothing good ever comes from something easy”. So true. When you set your path this year, push yourself to do something that will stretch you. When I started my blog, I had naysayers. I still do. Even from those close to me. But, I don’t care. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Plus, it’s been fun, thus far. If you’re scared, that’s good. If you don’t want to make mistakes, too bad…you will. It’s OK. It means you’re human. Remember, once upon a time there was a kid with big dreams that you promised you’d make real one day. Don’t disappoint yourself! To get where you want to go, you’re going to have to do things you’ve never done.

Make it About Sacrifice
My late father also shared with me what sacrifice was. It was a LCM (life changing moment) for me. He defined it as, “giving up something good, for something better”. Oftentimes, when you set a resolution and a plan, things frequently get in the way. Those things force you into a tough decision. What’s worse, is that the decision can be between two good things. So, what do you do now? That’s where the principle of sacrifice comes into play for me. For instance, is going to watch my son’s soccer game, on a day when I don’t have the kids, better than going to my best friends’ birthday party? One is clearly better than the other. Does one align more with your resolution? So, a sacrifice is made, based upon your decision. Remember, as you move forward to accomplish your resolutions, there will be sacrifices. Take a breath, and make good ones. It’s tough but the positive outcomes will follow.

Make it Public
I share my resolutions with a few that are very close to me. Maybe not all of them, but enough that I know they will check in on me to see how I’m doing, occasionally. It’s been proven that sharing goals will positively affect the achievement of said goals. So, go for it.

This year seemed to be rough for many. I’m not sure why. It really hit home when a dear friend of mine posted this as her Facebook status update, the other day…"Every year around now, people start posting about how crap the last year was and how the next year is going to be amazing. And then the very next year, they post the exact same thing. People are bad at relishing the good things that happened and instead focus on the suck. Stop doing that”. She followed this post up with a list of all the amazing things that went on with her and her family in 2016. It was a humbling read. Most importantly, it made its point.

2017 will be amazing. Focus on good things. Be happy. Be thankful. Resolutions should not be a burden. I think they should bring us joy, especially if they stretch us. If they don’t, where’s the fun in that? I hope you come by and visit, and share a resolution or two. Happy New Year!

Picture of Rob Burtt

Author: Rob Burtt

My name is Rob, author of singledadsarecool.com. I am the single father of three amazing kids. We share many amazing experiences together. Some good, some bad, some fun, some difficult. But, we stick it out, we learn and press forward. Being a parent is incredibly difficult, and so is being a single one. Just know, you're not alone. I hope you come by and visit.

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