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  • Writer's pictureGwyneth Kerr Erwin, Ph.D., Psy.D

To Resolve or Not To Resolve: Is That the Question?

To Resolve or Not To Resolve:

Is That the Question?

Most people love a fresh start, or at least a do-over. That’s why we make vows, resolutions, promises. We are determined to do it differently, this time!

21 Days to a new habit. Nope, 30! This coming Monday, or wait — next week, after the big game. In time for a wedding, or birthday, or holiday. To get a new job, new relationship, new location. To pay down debt, or save, or just spend less. To lose weight (or gain), get fit, be more patient. To slow down, speed up, jump higher, longer, stop going in circles.

Whoops! It’s only been two days, or 21, or 30. Promises broken, vows not sustained, resolutions evaporated. Too tired, discouraged, even heartbroken, self-critical, critical of others, the power of fate, the intrusion of circumstances, to try again. Who can we blame?

How about a radical approach? Instead of making resolutions, how about resolving difficulties, hindrances, obstacles, conundrums?

When we make the usual vow or resolution, we are usually jumping over the problem and heading straight to an end-point, mistaking it for a solution. Let’s try a new way of doing this.

Be curious:

• Identify and name the problem:

• Determine if it is long-standing:

• If long-term, determine when it began:

• Identify the people involved:

• Consider what was done or not done to address it from the beginning and overtime:

• Notice if the patterns involved in the problem or attempted solutions are repetitive:

• Determine what you have done to address the problem over time:

• Determine what helped and what did not help:

• If occurring in current time, determine if this is a new repetition or a new problem:

• What are the various aspects of the problem:

• Name what is the beginning, middle steps, and where you are in terms of solving it:

• Identify who it involves besides yourself?:

• Determine if you need help from others:

• Decide what role(s) they could play:

• Determine how much this is your problem:

• Determine how much this is a problem for others involved:

• What would be your desired solution?:

• Brainstorm all the steps you could take to RESOLVE the problem:

• In these steps, determine which are your responsibility and the responsibility of others with whom you collaborate:

• Reach necessary agreements with others:

• RESOLVE to take one next step, then evaluate. If not successful, re-iterate. If successful, take the next step. Repeat. Work through the resolution to the desired solution.

To Resolve or Not To Resolve is not the question: Rather, ask yourself: How can I, overtime, RESOLVE this challenge. Then, Embrace the process.

Thank you. Dr. Gwyn Ewin

P.S. If you want to explore the deeper ways of resolving, order your copy or a gift for someone of The Developmental Lens: A New Paradigm for Psychodynamic Diagnosis and Treatment today.

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