I have always had a distaste for the New Year. Not hatred. Just a bittersweet feeling. Irrationally, my mind feels as though I have worked hard to make it to the end of the year…as if the end of the year was a goal to reach. Then the New Year chimes in and I feel as though I have to start all over. And while I may be the only one who feels this way, I do understand that many of us identify the New Year as an opportunity to sieze improvement over the year before. Some resolutions made are superficial, some are unreasonable, and some are never fought for. But yet, there is wisdom in a desire to improve. And it is G.K. Chesterton that makes a wise observation:
“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.”
Through my observation of New Year’s resolutions, the main reason many fail at achieving their goal is that they feel overwhelmed. Long term improvements do not happen over night. Habits need to be developed through a steady pace. Baby steps as it were. Charles Swindoll, whose voice I have always found comforting, noted:
“If you’re running a 26-mile marathon, remember that every mile is run one step at a time. If you are writing a book, do it one page at a time. If you’re trying to master a new language, try it one word at a time. There are 365 days in the average year. Divide any project by 365 and you’ll find that no job is all that intimidating.”
When you begin an project of self improvement, it is always difficult to make it habitual. But if broken down and intermediate goals are developed, the end goal is often easily attained, as it doesn’t seem as overwhelming.
I have not really ever participated in any form of New Year’s resolutions. This year, however, I have been challenged to be a better man. A man with increased wisdom and character. One whose love for Jesus is exemplified through action. I want to be a man who seeks to offer unconditional forgiveness. I want to extend grace just as I have received. I want to offer encouragement to those who are unconfident in themselves. And I want to love those the world deems unloveable.
Have you any New Year’s resolutions? And how do you plan on obtaining the goals you have made?