a firm decision to do or not to do something.

“she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more”

synonyms: intention, resolve, decision, intent, aim, plan; commitment, pledge, promise

“her resolution not to smoke”


the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.

“the peaceful resolution of all disputes”

synonyms: solution to, answer to, end to, ending to, settlement of, conclusion to

“a satisfactory resolution of the problem”

Life in balance is like mastering the clutch and stick shift: easing up and pressing down with perfect timing and coordination for smooth acceleration. Overeager with the gas and you rev the engine uselessly, going nowhere as the insufficiently released clutch pins you in place. Quick release without the gas and you lurch and stall. When cars imitate life.

I’m always tempted by resolutions this time of year but I know better. For me, there is no better self-sabotage than to resolve to do something at the start of the year. Too much pressure. While the wholeness of it–starting at the beginning–feels right, the aggressiveness of such perfection clearly undermines any chance of success. Too much gas, not enough release, in other words, stultified with the big anticipation of achievement, I know I will wig myself out with the magnanimity of starting something big, something important, desired.

Because to resolve is to be firm about solving a problem, taking steps to change. Those words are intimidating enough to write: change, problem, solve. 

It’s not a simple equation like some sort of accounting problem. Let’s see. I spent 2015 not nearly motivated enough to keep my environment clutter free and organized or my body exercised enough (probably the key to the lack of motivation), so if we add up the months of non-activity, under motivation, increased clutter, and add a little more motivation and exercise x 2 next year, then that = clean kitchen and work space in 2016.  Nah.

Like writing, the trick is to fool yourself by starting in the middle or anywhere but the beginning. I advise writing students with writer’s block to skip the introduction and start some place less comitted, to lower pressure, somewhere beyond the introductory paragraph of the essay. Same goes for resolutions. Jump in where it is easiest to feel less pressure, say like late February. 

That’s the time to solve the big problems–exercise, eating habits, organization–which takes the right balance of push and pull, surrender and action. The balanced tension and release or stasis grows incrementally by daily practices and mental predisposition. Personally (or impersonally) I am fond of the I-can-do-anything-for-15-minutes timed routine. I set a timer and do one overdue chore, one distasteful task a day, for exactly 15 minutes. The daily doing sets my mind clock, and so I regulate my actions and attitude by the repetition. 

But only if I start on a Tuesday. So here’s to arbitrarily chosen days on an arbitrary Roman calendar to toggling along just as we always do–unresolved and ambling.  

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