For some, New Year’s resolutions are an effective catalyst for welcomed change throughout the year. For others, these ‘resolutions’ become ammunition for self-loathing, a new piece of past evidence we will use to reinforce the story of our failure: the story in which you are a failure. How is it that this practice of resolution-setting can on the one hand be so inspiring and on the other be so debilitating?

I believe it comes down not to what our resolutions are but rather to how they are serving us. The word ‘resolution’ comes from the Latin word resolvere, which means to loosen or to release. Resolutions that are rigid accountability clauses made in the spirit of keeping you in line are antithetical to the very spirit of the word – a word that quite literally asks us to loosen and to be willing to release. And consequently these types of resolutions oppress us rather than empower us. We forget in the moment of inspiration in which we proclaim a resolution that this burst of energy, the momentary belief that says, “I can do something differently in the year to come”, is born out of the feeling of freedom that directly results from letting go of the past.

Over the course of the coming year let us aim to perfectly, imperfectly practice loosening our grip on the debilitating stories we once grasped onto in order to make sense of the world — stories that no longer make sense in the world we now live. Throughout this upcoming year, guided by Courage and perhaps accompanied by Fear, let us be willing to let go in some fashion, and in each our own manner, so that we may find our way into resolution. Perhaps in these next few days prior to the New Year, rather than identifying a problem that you wish to resolve over the next 12 months and naming it your “New Year’s Resolution”, you might consider resolution as a process and these next 12 months as your place and space in time to let go and let yourself into resolution. Throughout 2016, may we individually and collectively dissolve, resolve, and ultimately evolve our consciousness.