My Life in Zion

The life and views of a Latter-day Saint in the 21st Century…

What Are You Going To Solve This Year?

I love words. Or perhaps to be more accurate, I like picking words apart. I like knowing their origin, where they came from, and what their root meanings are. Which makes me glad that I am a native english speaker, because in our language (more than in any other) we get to really see words take shape, form into new words, and sometimes have a double meaning. To me, the nerd that I am, linguistics is cool.

This morning as I was sitting in our sacrament meeting and listening to the speakers talk about the new year, resolutions, new hopes, and goals for our congregation, I got to thinking about New Year’s Resolutions in general. According to my dear friend Merriam Webster, a resolution is “a firm decision to do or not do something”. However, when you break the word “resolution” apart into “re” and “solution” it adds a whole new dimension to the word in every aspect.. The prefix “re” in its most archaic meaning means simply “again”, or for us english speakers it means basically “to repeat”. When you add that to the “solution” in “resolution” and take into context that a solution is simply something “solved”, it makes the phrase “New Year’s Resolutions” take on a whole new meaning. – No wonder people repeat the same resolutions over and over year after year.

At the beginning of each and every year many people make those infamous resolutions. For some they are health related resolutions, such as to lose weight or eat more healthily. For some people they are more introspective, like reading certain books or spending more time with family. It is a chance for us all to begin anew. As we go through another winter (in the northern hemisphere) during this time of year we see the world around us dead. Trees have no leaves. Grass is a bland brownish yellow. And we await the coming months of spring to see the world around us come back to life. There is an innate desire within us as living creatures to go through the same processes that our own environment goes through every twelve months. We want a fresh start. A clean slate. We want to start over. And New Year’s Resolutions help us to do that. We figuratively get to take the “problems” with our past year, whether they be temporal or spiritual, wrap them up into tiny emotional packages, and kick them to the curve by making mental, verbal, or written resolutions to “solve” those problems and make ourselves better.

As I pondered all of this in church this morning I was especially touched by our closing speaker, my beloved branch president. He told of his own quest as a youth to find “the perfect organization” to be a part of, and he spoke of attending multiple church services on Sunday mornings to find the right group. He knew there was a right place to be, the right group, “the perfect organization”, and he wanted to be a part of it. His father had told him of “the elite group of officers” within the military, and so as a young man he strove to join this organization of individuals and eventually did. However, it was not until after becoming a Latter Day Saint and joining the Lord’s perfect organization (His church) that he felt in the right place. Our branch president then spoke or our small Jasper Branch, of our hopes for bigger and better things, and our quest as a congregation to once again become a ward as an eternal ward family. It was touching, moving, and motivational all in one. And then he gave us our New Year’s Resolutions, of sorts, to accomplish as a congregation. I won’t go into great detail here, because my congregation’s goals are not necessarily of any great importance to you. However, they were stretching, to some I am sure they appeared hard, and yet they are all feasible of attaining if we keep our faith in Christ and rely upon His Holy Spirit to guide us in our actions and ministries to others.

And that’s what real resolutions should be like! Attainable, yet a stretch. Authors James Collins and Jerry Porras call such goals BHAGS, or “Big Hairy Audacious Goals”, because they are clear and compelling, serve as unifying focal points of efforts, and act as a clear catalyst for team spirit. But most importantly firm resolutions, or BHAGS, have a clear finish line (such as by the end of the year), so those who are making the BHAGS can know whether or not the goals of the resolutions have been achieved (see the book “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies for a great treatise of attainable goal setting).

I have countless personal stories of setting a goal, writing it down with a specific date, and seeing it come to pass in miraculous ways. As an avid journal keeper it is impressive to look back sometimes just a few months to see goals that I have written and see that they have already been fulfilled. There is power in an intention. So intend the best for yourself.

So what are your New Year’s Resolutions, and what are you going to solve by making them? As the first day of the new year draws to a close it is not too late for those of you who haven’t made resolutions to pull out a pen, paper, and get to making some amazing BHAGS for your own personal life.

Personally I am more excited about 2012 than I’ve ever been for any other year. I have some really big, scary, and truly audacious goals set for myself. But I know that through my hard work, perseverance, and as I desire to do God’s will in my life I’ll be guided to do the things I need to do to accomplish these things He has given me vision of.

So Happy New Year one last time y’all! – I look forward to seeing what great things 2012 has in store for us all.

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