It’s that time of year to unpack from storage that word we only seem to use in January. You know what I am talking about – Resolutions.
One could argue that human nature being what it is, that the annual practice of making New Year’s Resolutions is but an exercise in futility. Eventually, we all succumb to the temptation that resolutions are made to be broken. So why make them?
Reverend Isaac Augustine Morales argues that making New Year’s Resolutions “demonstrates two aspects of our human nature that are important for the spiritual life: our constant need for growth and our inability to persevere by sheer will power.” He goes on to say, “Making resolutions reminds us that we are not finished products—and breaking them makes this even more obvious.” (1)
Typically, our Resolutions are oriented to financial changes or personal goals, like losing weight. Even organizations establish Resolutions on an annual basis. Like Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan who published a list of ten words and phrases they resolve to ban in 2021. These words apparently are guilty of “overuse, misuse, or uselessness.” (2) What are these ten ineffective and irritating words?
- COVID-19 (COVID, coronavirus, Rona)
- Social distancing
- We’re all in this together
- In an abundance of caution (various phrasings)
- In these uncertain times (various phrasings)
- I know, right?
You can go to this link, https://www.lssu.edu/traditions/banishedwords/#toggle-id-7 to see why these words made that list.
2020 is a year that has found us in the midst of a confusing pandemic, a wounded economy, and a volatile political environment. It is no wonder that Facebook has exploded with memes like — “At midnight on December 31, everybody lift up your left leg, so that we can start 2021 on the right foot.” Is it any wonder we look forward with a nervous hope that 2021 will be a year without such concerns?
Unfortunately, global viruses, economic adversity, and politicians can’t read a calendar. So Lake Superior State University’s Resolution of banished words may yet be another exercise in futility.
I suggest rather than banning certain overworked or cliched words, that we might promote a more positive linguistic tactic to better reflect our hopes for the coming year. Wishful thinking is not a strategy for 2021, so let’s be proactive in the language we use. In other words, employ words as tools rather than wishes. What are TheBuddyBlog.com‘s recommended list of words to use in 2021?
- Opportunity – Every crisis presents opportunities. Be alert.
- Civility – Let’s relearn the true meaning of respect, tolerance, and how to argue lovingly and winsomely.
- Personal Mission Statement – Define your life’s purpose.
- Grateful – Start every day listing three things you are grateful for.
- Write not Type – Send personal notes of encouragement and birthday/anniversary wishes to family and friends.
- Adapt – 2020 may have been exhausting, but 2021 will likely be challenging. Learn to adapt…quickly.
- Get Moving – Get up off your couch, step away from the computer, and take a walk.
- Reflect – Deliberate conscious self-reflection can motivate us out of the quicksand of self-pity to make changes and pursue a more righteous and redemptive course.
- Grace – Extend everyone a little more grace, be forgiving, and don’t allow the inconsiderate actions of others to derail your emotional stability.
- Prayer Warriors – Ok, maybe this is an archaic religious metaphor. Still, in many ways, every new year is but another battle to fight, a world to conquer, a challenging opponent to overcome. Step one in preparing for battle is to realize you cannot do it alone.
Reverend Morales proposes that New Year Resolutions remind us that we are not finished products and cannot persevere through sheer will power.
Shouldn’t the words we use (and the actions we take) remind us of the same?