This is the forth post in a series about living the virtuous life like Benjamin Franklin. We’re taking his life and applying it to marriage and relationships.

Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

Resolution, it’s a word that is often thrown around at the beginning of the year, but it’s not referred to much after that. Resolution is the firm determination to accomplish what you set out to do. Benjamin Franklin had this as his fourth virtue because when he obtained the virtue of resolution it would help him accomplish his remaining virtues.
This is a virtue that seems to have faded a bit in today’s society, at least on the surface. I would say overall we live in a well intentioned world more than a resolved world. Today’s climate seems to be shaped more by public opinion and reaction to events around us than deep conviction and a resolved belief.
I know I have suffered from the well intentioned life. I meant to call my friend to see how the medical tests turned out, but I got too busy. I intended to spend time with my colleague and talk about our work and their struggles in the profession. I wanted to take my kids to the park and play the other day but I got caught up doing something else and time got away from me.
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this.
So how do we live a more resolved life, and have a more resolved marriage?
First you must realize that developing the will and determination that guides your life can only be accomplished by you. You must dig deep and tap into that inner source of fortitude and strength.
I would say this could become a new mantra – I am resolving to become more resolved.
Here’s a few ideas that may help along the way:

  1. Think through how you will respond to a challenge before you face it. In most everything there is a right way and a wrong way to handle it, we don’t live in as gray a world as you may think. Think through the ethical decision you’re likely to face in your life. Don’t wait until your faced with the decision and you’re left with spur of the moment thinking. This could be on the conversations you’ll have with members of the opposite sex. Or what you’re going to do with you down time during the week. Plan ahead and it will pay off.
  2. Anticipate your times of low resolution. Face it, you will have times where you fall a bit short. Where your will-power is lacking. Plan ahead and prepare for these moments. Like the wisdom in not going grocery shopping when you’re hungry. Or not sitting down to work on taxes after a long, rough day at work.
  3. Be confident. Confidence is a learned behavior – so it falls under the same guidelines as other behaviors, meaning you can fake it till you make it. In other words, act confident even when you don’t feel confident. Pretty soon, you’ll begin to feel confident.
  4. Write down your most important tasks each day. There’s benefit to writing out your goals and to dos each day. I love the feeling I get when I cross something off the list. On top of writing out your list, be sure to include your three most important tasks. These are the things that you want to be sure you do. Also, be sure to do this in the morning, this will help you purpose your day and keep you on track towards your goals and dreams.
  5. Be willing to improvise, adapt and overcome. Thoughts do turn into actions. Learning to use this phrase from the Marines, made famous by Clint Eastwood in Heartbreak Ridge, can help when you run up against unexpected obstacles. And there is no place better for unexpected obstacles than marriage and family!
  6. Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. When you achieve a step towards your goal, or cross something off your list, not matter how small the achievement celebrate. Enjoy a cup of coffee. Breathe in deeply and smile. Bask in your achievement. It’s perfectly fine to reward yourself – after all, no one can take care of you better than you.
Photo courtesy puliarf

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