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  1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.
  2. A resolving to do something.
  3. A course of action determined or decided on.


I like words. I like breaking them down and understanding them rather than just throwing them around and pretending I really know what they mean. And come this time of the year, there’s one key word that gets thrown around a whole lot: resolution. More specifically, New Year’s Resolution. Broadly speaking, that goal we set for once the clocks mark twelve wherever it is we are in the world. That goal that weighs on us and almost becomes a heavy burden because it’s often not something we enjoy doing or that is easy to do, but that we push ourselves to fight through in order to accomplish. For those of us with BFRBs, very often that resolution is to finally stop.

During the rest of the year, we’re vehement in telling people we can’t “just stop.” In fact, those two words attack us like a burn and hit us where it hurts most, often offending and enraging us that anyone would be so ignorant as to think this is a choice. But somehow, that resolution comes along and we seem to think that maybe this time those words won’t hurt anymore and we’ll be able to do it. If only we have enough strength and resolve to do so.

People often speak of broken resolutions, as if one moment shattered their whole chance of getting better or improving themselves and their lives. But let’s take a look at the word resolution without new year’s tacked on as a condition.

“Firm determination.” “A resolving to do something.” “A course of action.”

Nowhere there does it say, one moment’s decision, or one moment of opportunity.

When we have a slip up and pick or pull, has our desire to stop gone away? Probably not. One single moment doesn’t have to shatter our resolution because a resolution isn’t just a single moment of choice. It’s a continuing effort. A plan of action to be carried out over time that may or may not be flawlessly achieved.

Even more, it’s an emotion. Having resolve means that we have steadfastly decided to do something. Picking or pulling doesn’t get rid of that feeling of determination or desire within us, so why let these moments make us feel like we’ve failed? Like we’ve screwed up our one chance?

BFRBs aren’t defined by a single moment, it’s a process, and a resolution is much the same. So if your resolution this year is to stop, keep in mind that it’s not as easy as “just stop,” even if we’d like to. We must remember how we try so hard to get others to understand that, and then understand it ourselves. Keep in mind when the clock is counting down those last few moments before the new year that it is not our only chance.

As long as we hang onto our resolutions throughout the year, we haven’t failed or broken anything. If we slip up, it’s a bump in the road, a little stumble, from which we can collect ourselves and renew our efforts. We can continue to fight to better ourselves and our lives with our BFRBs.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and on, and on, and on.