To Resolve, Loosen & Release

If you know me, you know that I love a good metaphor, spreadsheets make me a bit weak at the knees (best planning divination tool ever), and I also have a thing about word origins.

Because it has come up so often in the last week or so, I looked up the word “resolution” in the dictionary a few days ago.

The meaning that is emphasized this time of year – something one has reached a firm decision about – is not the first one listed. At a more basic level, the word is defined by answering, solving, determining, breaking down the complex into the simple. It’s other common meaning has to do with focus – the sharpness of an image, for example – and being able to distinguish the individual parts of an object.

The word comes from the Latin – re- + solvere – meaning to loosen or release. Answering, solving, simplifying, focusing, determining something we might want to make a firm decision about, all turn out to be acts or processes of loosening and releasing. How great is that?!

New Year’s resolutions can feel punitive – corrections of past failures, reminders of shortcomings. As such, we tend to be tight-fisted with them – goals we push ourselves to achieve like a drill sergeant. Just do it right this time! No excuses! Punch, punch, punch.

But to be a resolution, maybe we need to loosen our grip on the command we’ve decided upon, open our hand so we can clearly see the parts. You can’t solve a problem if you can’t see all the little things that contribute to it, look at them with fresh eyes, maybe let some of them go, then reassemble them in a new more harmonious way.

Because that turns out to be another meaning of resolution: to progress from dissonance to consonance. In setting your goals for the new year, imagine them coming together like the voices of a choir (or maybe a righteous power chord if you aren’t the classical type).

Here’s wishing you harmony in everything you do in the coming year.

This “loosening and releasing” business? We do a lot of it in the True Discipline of Time Management. Like letting go of our out-dated rule books. And should’s. And goofy myths about productivity. That sort of thing. You might want to give it a try.


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Third Hand Works

from overwhelmed to ready for anything | organization and time management for people in their "right" minds | administrative guidance for independent creative professionals [more info]



© 2008 Cairene MacDonald, Third Hand Works. All Rights Reserved.

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