(Trussville, AL USA)
It's that time of the year again. It just seems like yesterday that we were approaching 2017 and making those yearly resolutions. Time sure flies. Like the old parson would say, "I guess time flies, because we are always trying to kill it."
Anyway, time for those infamous "New Year's resolutions," or should we label them as "New Years Dissolutions," considering those resolves will probably fall by the wayside, or into the corner waste bucket. Yes, this annual ceremony is usually doomed before it actually begins.
According to a study conducted in 2002, 25% of New Year’s resolutions are broken in the first week alone. Within six months, over half of us will have given up.
So, what will you resolve to give up? You know the list: lose weight and get in shape, quit smoking, learn a new hobby, read a good book and improve the mind, eat healthier, get out of debt, spend more time with family, travel to new places, be less stressful, do some volunteer work and the list goes on-and-on.
According to ancient history, New Year's Resolutions actually began in pre-Christian times, beginning with the Babylonians in March but changed to January by the Romans. Strangely enough, January gets its name from Janus, the two-faced god who looks backward into the old year and forward into the new. Can we draw a parallel here, between this old mythology and our New Year's resolutions? Do we attempt to improve on the new year by looking back over last year's experiences? Or do we just create new ones, in hopes of successfully forgetting last year?
Puritans urged their children to spend their time reflecting on the year past and positively looking forward to the year to come. In this way, they adopted again the old custom of making resolutions. These were enumerated as commitments to better employ their talents, treat their neighbors with charity, and avoid their habitual sins
Jonathan Edwards had the right psychology. He took the writing of resolutions to an art form. He did not write his resolutions hurriedly. Rather, during a two-year period when he was about 19 or 20 following his graduation from Yale, he compiled some 70 resolutions on various aspects of his life, which he committed to reviewing each week.
Here are just three:
· Resolved, in narrations never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity.
· Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it.
· Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining and establishing peace, when it can be without over-balancing detriment in other respects.
I realize we can't take on the personality of these true patriarchs, as we all have our own identity. However, we can all learn from their experiences and start the new year as a blank slate. We can look at it as a time to take stock of our lives and focus on improving our condition, whether or not we jot down our anticipated improvements in the form of resolutions.
So, why do so many New Year's resolutions fall by the wayside? Could it be that we Americans are already hard-pressed just keeping up with today's hurry-up and wait schedule? After all, we are already pressed for time. If you don't believe it, just slow down on any given main thoroughfare, some work morning, and listen to the variety of well-tuned vehicle horns. You see, we just don't have time to squeeze new commitments into our 24-hour plus days, much less at the beginning of a new year.
The answer isn't just to make new resolutions, but to sharpen those positive priorities already in place, and give up on the lesser important projects. One need only surf the Internet to get any number of self-help suggestions. However, any resolution must be a personal endeavor, a chance to take your own ideas of a fuller life and build on them. If you fail in any aspect of a resolution, don't give up on it entirely. Take what's left and build on it. Remember, broken resolutions can definitely be repaired, and resolutions not mended will forever remain broken. It's up to you and you alone, my friend. Happy New Year!
New Year's Resolutions are not for me, one might say, out of pure disgust at not keeping these promises in the past. Now, why is it common knowledge that these annual promises are always broken?
Could it be that the resolutions weren't realistic, or we had no plans of reaching them? According to Scripture patterns, we fail to keep these promises because we try to accomplish the results on our own willpower, instead of asking for God's help. (Psalm 121:2)
Laying those traditional resolutions aside, why not begin the year by talking with God, and asking Him to show you what He wants you to do in your life? After all, our heavenly Father is patiently waiting for our call as He walks to talk with us. (Psalm 27:8) With the help of God's Holy Spirit, we can pursue all the attributes of (I Timothy 6:11). Amen!
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