Ditch the Resolutions - Be Resolute Instead

The beginning of a new year is a time to start fresh. There is usually some reflection on the past year, followed by us making a list of New Year’s resolutions. These resolutions are changes we wish to make in our lives that allow us to progress towards our goals or make self-improvements.

Unfortunately, it is common for us to abandon these goals when daily life interferes – I know from personal experience! But I believe we can make progress though by a simple shift in our thinking. Rather than having resolutions, we might instead commit to being resolute.  A resolution is a noun, a proclamation, but being resolute requires action. The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “working to achieve a goal even when it is difficult.” Being resolute requires intentionality in achieving goals. “I resolve to…” or “I will be resolute in…” holds incredible power to shape the future.

Personally, I resolve to start writing again in 2023, with the intent of a future book. My exact topic, however, is still open for consideration. The uncertainty of what I shall write makes it more authentic. Much like education, where we explore and test the waters of different ideas, I am embracing a commitment to write without an exact blueprint. Indeed, our resolutions are acts of commitment into an unknowable future. That model can even work for a University.

For in higher education we make positive commitments each semester – to ace a class or publish research. From the University perspective, Middle Georgia State must also regularly re-evaluate our goals and plans. We do this by semester, academic year and in multi-year form via our strategic plan. Our current strategic plan ends this year, and planning is well underway for the roadmap that will lead us into an unknowable future in the next few years. This next roadmap will demonstrate our commitment towards specific goals that are both attainable and also challenge us.

As we look forward to shaping this year, it is worth remembering Aristotle’s advice, and that of several modern-day psychologists – instead of always seeking the end goal or the “pursuit of happiness” as the Declaration of Independence puts it, try to also value the journey itself, or the happiness of pursuit. The pursuit itself is worthwhile and can provide us each with meaning and direction as we grow in 2023.

Happy New Year, and welcome to Spring semester!