While it’s true origins have been disputed, French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery is often attributed with authoring one of the most powerful (and subsequently most cited) maxims in the field of organizational development and business:
Bring on the New Year’s resolutions. Our annual declaration to the world that this is the year we will finally own it. Crush it. Achieve it.
I love the actionable detail of resolutions and the feelings of excitement and possibility that they inevitably elicit. There is a certain freedom in the idea of a clean slate and an opportunity to start fresh without looking back.
For some, resolutions are simply a chance to enhance a skill or take control of a perceived deficiency. For others, they are a legitimate means to create an entirely new life, separate and divorced from their current situation or reality.
Resolutions are a source of hope and optimism in what can sometimes seem like an endless cycle of negativity in the world that surrounds us.
I, for one, am proud to be a devotee to resolutions – I have seen the power of a changed mind, a new perspective and transformed spirit both personally and with clients.
Unfortunately, though, I sense that others are becoming less willing to commit to a resolution. Interestingly, their reasoning seems to have nothing to do with the fear of obtaining a specific goal and the hard work and sacrifice that it will inevitably require.
Rather, their aversion appears to be rooted in a harsh repulsion to the vulnerability that a resolution inherently implies. It takes courage to make a change—most notably, the courage to openly admit that we are flawed, imperfect and inconsistent. To think that we have discarded an opportunity for growth on account of this vulnerability is truly disheartening.
I’m not quite sure when it happened, but at some point in the not-too-distant past, resolutions have started to carry a negative, almost superficial connotation. A quick Google search verifies this position, as one can access countless articles that criticize, vilify and attack resolutions for their stupidity and futility.
Some assert that those who attempt resolutions are “weak” and maintain the position that they are bandwagon followers who will have abandoned their goals in a matter of weeks.
With article titles like “No One Cares About Your New Year’s Resolutions” and “5 Reasons Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Suck,” it seems like belief in the power of resolutions is quickly fading from public confidence and perspective.
This is a sad state of affairs. When we lose the conviction and boldness necessary to grow, realize and achieve our most closely held dreams, we essentially lie down and accept a life that happens to us, as opposed to one that manifests because of us.
And so, to combat the anti-resolution pundits, I challenge you to the following:
One of the unfortunate realities of modernity is the constant and ever-looming potential for distraction.
It’s happened a million times.
You ignore the alarm clock, hit the snooze button for what seems like an eternity and finally (reluctantly) roll out of bed. Without a plan, you move aimlessly from one room to the next trying your best to remember what needs addressed before leaving the house.