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Resolve + Commit

‘Tis the season of bright ideas and high hopes, a time when many of us resolve to do better and be better in the year ahead.  The notion of a new beginning can be intoxicating, particularly after a year like the last one, which has left many of ready to wipe the slate clean and start fresh.  But far too often, this feeling of intoxicating optimism and promise is short-lived.  Gym memberships surge in January, but attendance drops off by February or March.  We silence our phones during dinner for the first few months of the year, until work heats up and we’re back to slyly checking our email underneath the table.

Based on my experience, there is one main difference between resolutions that flop and those that soar: COMMITMENT.

Resolve: “to come to a definite or earnest decision about; determine (to do something)”

Commit: “to pledge or engage oneself”

It’s easy to resolve, but it’s hard to commit.

Amidst many failed attempts to throw down the gauntlet and make big changes, when I’m honest, I can only think of two “resolutions” I’ve kept during the past few years: 1) write every weekday for a year (2013), and 2) do #52hikes as a family (2016).  Both of these resolutions came with true commitment, and required consistent, sustained effort.  They were steady, not spikey.  They involved regular practices that became woven into the rhythm of my life.  So interwoven, that they can live on (more on how #52hikes will live on in a future post).

As our family is throwing around ideas for a 2017 resolution, we’ve come up with lots of ideas we’ve considered and then quickly abandoned. Cooking for friends every Friday night?  Sounds like fun, until we’re exhausted and cooking becomes such a chore that we can’t embrace the time with the friends we’re hosting.  Volunteering every weekend?  Great in theory, but not as great when we stare at the reality of toting a 2-year-old into a soup kitchen.  A morning meditation?  Cool idea, but would we be willing to sacrifice morning workouts to make family meditation circle happen?  Nope.

To make sure we can resolve and commit, we’re asking ourselves a few simple questions as we consider changes we want to make as individuals and as a family in the year ahead:

Is this an activity we do – or could – enjoy?

Are we prepared to make tradeoffs to make sure this activity can happen?

Do we have a support system in place to hold us accountable for this commitment?

And with these three questions as filters, the ideas continue to percolate…

Whatever you’re ready to commit to (or not) in 2017, may it be a year filled with joy, love, peace and adventure.

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