I have written more than once about the difference in New Year’s Resolutions and Commitments. Riding home yesterday from a short visit to Hendersonville, NC, to visit Mike’s Dad’s wife, Mum Rosie, for her 86th birthday, it occurred to me to broaden this clarification. I believed that this distinction was worthy of being compared to more than Resolutions, such as “Plans.” Now, I have never researched the difference in any of these words. It has just made sense to me that there is a difference. I, and you, my readers, are about to find out!
Most of us have a common frame of reference for the meaning of the word “Resolution,” and usually equate it to New Year’s. I am not sure we have a common frame of reference for the words, “Plan,” or “Commitment.” So, I went to the dictionary for the definition of these three words.
Wikipedia defines a Plan as “an intention or decision.” It defines “Resolution” as “a firm decision.” It defines “Commitment” as “an engagement or obligation that restricts freedom of action.” It also lists synonyms for Commitment as “Duty” and “Responsibility.” Comparing these three words and the dictionary definition of each seems to “prove” my point that a “Commitment is a stronger decision than a “Resolution” or “Plan.” Do you see the difference?
Words matter. How we hear something can affect our ability to follow through on what we say we are going to do. A decision without the belief that such “restricts freedom of action” or that such “is a duty,” makes it easier for us to fail to keep our resolution or plan. That is the very reason that my “resolution” or “plan” to lose weight has failed so many times; my decision did not restrict my action!
It has been harder for me to break a commitment. And as I think about it, I have only had one commitment in the past few years, a decision that I considered a steadfast commitment. When our first grandchild, Mary Grace, was born fourteen years ago, I committed to myself that I would see her at least once a month. This has not been easy since we and her family have always lived 6.5 to 7 hours driving distance apart. But the definition of the word “Commitment” does not include anything about it “being easy.” It refers to “a duty,” “an obligation.” I am grateful to have been able to keep my commitment to myself and to Mary Grace, as well as to twelve-year-old Elsie, and six-year-old Virginia. In fourteen years, I have not missed a month! Since one-year-old Drew lives in Raleigh, one would think it should be an easy commitment to keep for him, but with our travel schedule, such is not always the case.
Now, please do not read this as “bragging.” Notice I said, “I am grateful to have been able to keep this commitment.” If the granddaughters lived in California, as much as I wanted to, I would probably not have been able to see them once a month. So, my commitment has been doable, but it has not always been easy. And others, including Mike and the grandchildren’s parents, have helped with this as well.
Last month I made another commitment. On our visit to see Dad and Rosie last month, I decided that there is no reason that we cannot see them once a month. They are in an assisted living facility in Hendersonville, only four hours away. We (and another brother of Mike’s) are the closest physically to Hendersonville. We can, and we should. It is a commitment.
What about your commitments? Do you have any? Do you consider them a duty, an obligation, or just a plan? Is there any difference in these words to you? Or do you think this is just “wordsmithing?”
I would love to hear your thoughts about this.