I was talking with a friend the other day who said he was resolved not to make New Year’s resolutions for 2010. After commenting on the ironic way he put it, I asked him why. He said something to the effect of, “it’s just feels cheesy and unoriginal.” I’ll give him that one. New Year’s resolutions often feel trite to me too. It’s easier to not make any resolutions at all just so you can scoff at the losers who abandon theirs by February.
We all have to make the decision though, don’t we? We all know what they should be, but we’re not sure we want to go there. Half the battle with resolutions isn’t that they are cheesy or trite – it’s that I’m lazy and complacent. I’d rather keep the 10 pounds I gained this year, thank you very much. They were yummy! Losing them would not be so yummy.
So, I’ve decided to make some New Year’s resolutions – lots of them. Why?
1). Resolutions require reflection. Let’s face it, there wasn’t much that was spectacular about this past year. It was a crummy year for most of us and we are all ready to forget most of it. The problem is, I learn most from struggle, hard times, and even failure. When I reflect on this last year – hard as it was – I allow God to bring to my attention things that he wants to refine in my life. He reminds me that everything that happens is working together for good to conform me into the image of Jesus – and they shouldn’t be ignored or forgotten.
2). Resolutions are simple acts of confession. When we vow not to drink sodas in 2010, we are saying, by implication, “I drank too many sodas in 2009.” It is a healthy thing to admit failure – especially when our failures are destructive to us or those around us. The more I tend to hide my failures, the more prone I am to revisiting them again in the year to come.
3). Resolutions invite accountability. Invariably our conversations around the turn of the year always go something like this, “Soooooo, did you make any resolutions this year?” We sheepishly have to make something up on the spot because we either didn’t make any (and feel then like we should have), or we realize that if we share our real resolutions we won’t be able to cheat.
4). Resolutions require discipline. No one ever lost 10 pounds by accident, right? Any amount of life change we would like to see will not happen by itself. If we say we want to live a certain way (10 pounds lighter) and yet do not commit to a lifestyle that would lead in that general direction (eating fast food every day), it should be no surprise to us that our resolution was no resolution at all – just wishful thinking. When you think about it, all resolutions start out as pipe dreams, ideals, and wishes – and most remain that way because we lacked the resolve to see them through.
5). Resolutions never produce regret. So what if my resolve actually sees me through to the end of the year and I do lose 10 pounds? All of the sudden my resolutions aren’t as cheesy, trite or cliche as I was worried they would be. In fact, they are quite the opposite. No one would ever regret seeing their resolution to completion. Think about the ones that you know you should write down. Would you regret it if they all came to pass?
So, like I said, I will be making lots of resolutions this year. I’ll be calling them resolutions too. It’s too good of a term not to use: ‘agreement,’ ‘solution to a problem,’ ‘closure,’ ‘clarity,’ ‘reconcilliation.’
May your 2010 be full of resolve for the things you believe in most deeply. Happy New Year!