An Essay posted by dang on May 6, 2020.

Author's Note: I don't include full names on my quotations, but you can find them with a quick Google search.

     Pure Focus

Our ability to focus in a loud and distracting world is really at the heart of our success or failure. Strict focus adds a strength and purity to our efforts that can come from no other source. Deep concentration combines our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual energies in a way that bulldozes the obstacles before us.

When my resolution is taken, all is forgotten except what will make it succeed. —Napoleon

What is resolution? Resolution is pure focus. It is endurance. It works around obstacles and continues through hardship, difficulty, and boredom. Resolution is mustering the whole of our soul, pinpointing it like a magnifying glass concentrating the sun's rays.

Resolve that whatever you do you will bring the whole man into it; that you will fling the whole weight of your being into it. —Marden

But reaching this kind of focus isn't easy. Often, in setting a new goal or direction, we feel excitement and exhilaration. The destination is exactly what we want or need. We start out at a sprint. Suddenly, we realize sprinting is uncomfortable and the extra effort needed to advance is taking time and energy from our normal favorite routines. At this point, most capitulate. The white flag is raised and we go back to what we've always done. But those with resolution continue on.

Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed. —Robert


We shun liars. Yet, when we commit to something and fail to keep our commitment, we have lied to ourselves and possibly to others. If someone else did the same to us, we would feel let down or incensed. Why can we sometimes lie to ourselves with such little inner turmoil?

Breaking resolutions isn't something trivial. When we break our word too often, the act becomes normal and sometimes even comfortable. Instead, failing to keep our commitments should be abhorrent. Lying to self erodes our conscience and opens the door to lying to others. As we deceive ourselves, we create a self image that justifies untruth.

Many an honest man practices on himself an amount of deceit, sufficient if practiced on another and in a little different way, to send him to the state prison. —Bovee

     Disgust at Failing

There is a part of every soul that never wants to give in. This is often a good trait, and with commitments it is definitely so. To look back at something we failed at, and realize we could have been successful had we stayed true to our commitments, is painful. And at times, it is deeply so. Sometimes, keeping some small commitment would have swung a door wide open. But we lacked resolve and the opportunity now has passed.

The disdain we feel at not living up to our potential is a part of our soul that needs to be fed and nourished.

I have always despised the whining yelp of complaint, and the cowardly, feeble resolve. —Burns

We all fail. Our judgment is lacking at times and we take on more than is possible to accomplish. Although we shouldn't be depressed or overwhelmed by those facts, failing at our resolutions should always still make us cringe; it never should feel acceptable.

     Resolution Forethought

Because our integrity is on the line, commiting to something only should be done with deep forethought. Some good questions are: Is this something I really can do? Do I have the time? Resources? Will committing jeopardize my other promises?

Hasty resolutions seldom speed well. —Banner

Certainly each of us needs to make commitments on a regular basis to have a productive life. But intense caution is needed each time a potential resolution is before us. We need to forego some things in life. We should commit less frequently. But once we make a resolution, it's time to go all in. Being cautious to commit can slow our overall pace, but this caution is a proper fear that reminds us to weigh things before signing on the dotted line of our soul.

Many resolutions have a short shelf life. Chief among these are "New Year's," weight loss, exercise, and diet resolutions.

Sometimes we know the best thing to do, but fail to do it. New Year's resolutions are often like that. We make resolutions because we know it would be better for us to lose weight, or get fit, or spend more time with our children. The problem is that a resolution is generally easier to break than it is to keep. —Singer

We hear or watch something motivating and we want to change. This is a natural part of a healthy psyche. In our excitement, we commit to change. But we mustn't let our enthusiasm override our deliberation and caution before our commitment. Grand occasions are a hotbed for resolutions doomed to fail.

Men are mortal and beset by human frailties... When they are under the influence of an exalted occasion, they make high resolves. They firmly determine to avoid past mistakes and to do better. But gone out from under the spell of that influence and absorbed in the complicated pursuits of life, they find difficulty in holding fast to their noble purposes. —Bowen

     Resolution Inclination

If possible, it is wise to commit to things that we desire. If we love a sport and resolve to improve our play, persisting in our goal is simple. Alternatively, if we hate to exercise, running two miles a day is odious.

Resolutions are well kept when they jump with inclination. —Goldsmith

Life would be much easier if we only needed to commit to things to which we are inclined. But part of our needed growth comes from setting out on paths that are not convenient or fun. In setting those directions, we still can choose the path that most closely aligns with our natural inclinations. A small amount of propensity is like having a light breeze behind us when riding a bike. It helps us move forward more easily, especially when we hit a hill.

     Continued Progression

We won't be perfectly focused, perfectly resolute. There will be times our focus and endurance will abandon us. But we must learn to bring them back more quickly and more fully. This takes attention, rehearsal, and resolution. Resolution can produce more resolution if we choose the right objectives.

Resolution will sometimes relax and diligence will sometimes be interrupted; but let no accidental surprise of deviation, whether short or long, dispose you to despondency. —Johnson

Like so many other things in life, after extended and intense effort, resolution can become habitual, almost routine. Our need to focus takes less mental exertion and is more automated. It is simply part of our character.

     Opportunities for Resolution

We yearn for more time, more capital, more chances, greater skills, better relationships, and endless other things. But what we really lack is resolution.

For the resolute and determined there is time and opportunity. —Emerson

We can do so much or so little. Resolution is the deciding factor. We reach or fall short of our potential to the degree we have or lack commitment. We all can accomplish great things, if we can follow through.

Resolves perish into vacancy, that, if executed, might have been noble works. —Giles

An important question to ponder is: What couldn't I accomplish if I followed through on all my commitments? Of course there are some things that aren't reachable in our mortal condition, but there is far more that is reachable.

A good resolve will make any port. —Horace

Great men and women, those who have accomplished the most in our world, had resolution. They were able to chart a course and continue on despite adverse winds, currents, and opinions. This trait let them act rather than be acted upon.

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other thing. —Lincoln

     Need for Resolution

It's hard to exaggerate the need for resolution in our lives. None of us lack it completely or fail to need it more perfectly. We all must improve globally, nationally, and, most importantly, individually in simply keeping our commitments. As we do, our power to accomplish will increase. More crucially, one of the grand building blocks of integrity will be in place. We are that much closer to our destination.