Oh, the Resolution
What is it about the approach of the New Year that makes me want to change? I have visions (and intentions) of being more healthy, cutting things out of my life that sap my time and energy with little return, sacrificing to get out of debt, and diving into projects I long to complete. This is not the first time the approach of another year has raised these sentiments in me. At times in the past I have truly changed in ways I have intended, at other times my intentions haven’t made it out of the starting gate.
Two reflections in thinking about this. First, I think there is something in us that longs for a fresh start. We all have ways we are not what we wish to be, and over time we get to the point where we find it difficult to believe we (or our circumstances) will ever change. We tell ourselves lies that keep us in our current state. “I don’t make enough to get out of debt. (So I might as well stop by Starbucks.)” “I’ve tried to get in shape before. (So I might as well skip the gym today.)” “It’s so hard to say no to any of the good things I’m asked to do. (So my family can go another night without me.)” There’s something about a fresh start that makes us believe this time it can be different.
Second, there is something important about a point of change. I have long not been a fan of the New Year’s Resolution. If it’s important enough to do it, why not just do it? While there is something to be said for just making changes when they’re needed, it’s also helpful to have a point that marks change. We celebrate graduations, birthdays, and promotions–is a resolution really so different (at least one prayerfully considered with structures put in place to keep it)? I need points in my life that I can look back to as markers of decisions I’ve made.
One other thing I’ve learned in my life is that I always have to keep trying in the areas where I know change or effort is necessary. I may fail two or three or even a hundred times, but I’m not done until I give in and declare the battle over. We need to have enough grace for ourselves that we’re willing to keep trying.
So whether we call them resolutions or not, I do think this is a great time of year to evaluate our lives and make decisions and plans to change with God’s help and the help of friends and family.