Does it really make any difference to make New Year’s Resolutions?
Before my days of blogging, I was a big journal-er. I had a little tradition I’d do each New Years (Eve, Day, the Day-After) where I’d reflect on all the major happenings of the past year and set some goals for the new.
I didn’t take but a few years to see that my ‘resolutions’ sort of stayed the same each year:
- Get healthy (i.e. lose weight)
- Get closer to God
- Love other people better…
All the seminar gurus say how important it is for goals to be measurable – and as a teacher, I know this – and maybe that’s why I had to keep repeating them. Maybe they weren’t concrete enough.
Maybe they should have looked more like this:
- Lose 10 pounds by summer
- Have regular time with God at least 4 days a week
- Volunteer at least 1x every 3 months.
But I have to be honest. That kind of concreteness scares me a little. Fear of failure? The admission of apathy winning over what should be my personal perseverance is not comfortable for a perfectionist. Like a pig rolling in slop, I feel sort of comfortable in the vague, fluffy, cotton-candiness of my resolutions…warm, cozy – but not much substance.
Would it make a difference if my resolutions were that concrete? If, God-forbid – it was hard? Maybe it’s just the idea of change I like…not the doing that change requires.
I am such a hypocrite. For all of my spouting at my students to ‘toughen up, work hard’…for all of my criticism of others for being ‘soft’ or ‘having no inner strength’…I see that exact quality in myself. I might be strong in the areas I criticize others for being weak in…but clearly, I am weak in many areas where others could look at me and think the same thing. We all pick our own poisons.
So where does this leave me in resolving? Do I give it up all together, so as not to be a hypocrite?
No, I don’t think that is the answer.
I think the beauty in resolutions is the hope that things can change, that I can change. It’s another chance to try again…learn from the failures of the year that has passed and to dust ourselves off and try again. And maybe the futility of fluffy goals is the lesson I’m taking from last year – that if I really want to see change, I need not only a concrete goal, but a plan. And not only a goal and a plan, but help: accountability from others, help from God.
My mom always said, ‘The flesh is the flesh.’ It’s true…left to ourselves, we typically choose the path of least resistance, even if that means that no matter how much we feel our clothes getting tighter and tighter and we hate it, we still stuff our faces with potato chips while watching The Biggest Loser instead of getting to the gym ourselves.
So, at the minimum, I’m asking blogworld to hold me accountable, even if it’s just me reading my own posts. At least it’s out there.
Let me contemplate a little – give it some time, give it some prayer. Give me a week and I’ll be back with some concrete goals, some plans and hopefully a little renewed motivation as well.