Jay Rifenbary

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Resolutions - A Year Round Responsibility

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How many New Year's resolutions come and go, only to be thought of again as the end of the following year approaches? Resolutions are nice to have; acting on them is rarely easy to do. To have a resolution is a commitment to change a behavior, and no wonder they fade into the shadows of spring. To be resolute is the core value that provides the foundation for a successful resolution. Resolute is defined as, "firmly resolved or determined, set in purpose or opinion, characterized by firmness and determination, as the temper, spirit, actions, etc." As Abraham Lincoln said, “Always bear in mind that your own resolution is more important than any other.” To be resolute takes strength of character and courage. The courage to change, to take risks, to think outside the box, to get out of your comfort zone, and most importantly to understand that a successful resolution will likely have a positive impact on those around you.

A physically and emotionally healthier you is a gift to those you parent, influence and love. Considering others into the equation of a successful resolution is the key to maintaining the motivation to complete what you set out to do. To stop smoking, eat healthy, drink less alcohol, stay in shape and be an ethical person should be as much for your children, grandchildren, and those you love, as for yourself. To take care of yourself is not being self-centered when the benefit to your commitment is for those you love and cherish. If you do not care about yourself why would you expect others to care about you any differently?

What impedes a successful resolution? Excuses! Not enough time, don't have the energy, my issues aren't that bad, others don't really care, I'm from a dysfunctional family, there is always next year, I'm really not that fat, it can't happen to me, and it's not my fault are examples of the sickness of excuses. It is always easier to resort to how it has always been, then to work towards what could be a better you. Doing the same thing, and expecting a different outcome is insanity.

Denial is the stimulus for generating excuses, and for the development of a lack of personal accountability. Denial in psychological terms is defined as, "an unconscious defense mechanism used to reduce anxiety by denying thoughts, feeling, or facts that are consciously intolerable." How personally dishonest is denial? It is a lie directed to oneself. In simple terms, denial is a cop out for not taking ownership for your life. As Benjamin Franklin stated, “How few there are who have the courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them.”

What is the difference between a resolution and a goal? Resolution is your intent to accomplish a goal. Without the proper execution of your intent, your goal cannot be achieved. Firm resolve is the backbone for your effort, and the accomplishment of that goal is your reward. Change is challenging, yet invigorating, when you realize what you set out to do can actually come to fruition. One day at a time, a commitment to do something each day directed toward that goal, and keeping your eye on the prize, are the three pillars to keep you strong and resolute.

Another key factor in achieving that goal is your attitude. Are you optimistic about your future, or in the doldrums because of your negativity and despair? If pessimism is the norm, failure will be the outcome. Surrounding yourself with optimistic and successful people can break the cycle of negativity. Find those who inspire and achieve, not depress and complain. Find those who have principled values, and not unprincipled behaviors. However, I have another resolution I would like you to consider. A social and communal resolution of commitment to unify our citizenry around mutual respect, moral decency, common sense, and integrity by the example we set each day. To realize there are those who believe in us is the reason we should believe in one another. Quitting is not an option, so make your resolutions become a reality. As the American naturalist and essayist John Burroughs simply said, “One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this; to rise above the little things.” Have a Happy and Blessed New Year!



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