People have been known to make New Year’s resolutions for at least 4000 years. Throughout history, New Year’s has been a time for renewal. And it is a terrific and inspiring tradition.
When we devote ourselves to embracing a new experience in our lives, dedicate ourselves to acting firmly on a course of action, and commit ourselves to giving it our all, we have a resolution.
Of course, serious resolutions are not reflected in an impulsive declaration made mostly in jest around midnight on New Year’s Eve. Rather, preparation and planning are vital in developing a specific plan of action for achieving something new and wonderful in our lives.
First, we need to pick a specific goal! “I’m going to be a better person” is not a specific goal. “I’m going to offer at least one compliment to someone each day” is a specific goal.
Now for folks planning to quit drinking, quit smoking, start exercising, and lose weight: do some research, identify the actual skills you’re going to need, and formulate a very carefully thought out plan with small steps that will lead to accomplishing your goal. For example, “I will do one exercise for two minutes each day for one week.” After a week, celebrate your success and then set your next goal.
Be realistic. Changing behavior is challenging. Personal growth and development does not come by chance but by hard work and effort. We must believe in ourselves and stand by our commitment. While we do not plan to lapse, we realize nonetheless that progress usually does include lapses, and we must not treat a lapse as a failure. The challenge with a lapse is to catch it quickly, learn what we can from it, and then continue moving forward before old patterns return.
It is also helpful to share our goal and our progress with someone. Even better yet, it is very helpful to work together with someone on the same goal.
When we truly value our lives and want to take care of ourselves and when we truly value others and want to be our best for them, then are we prepared to act with resolve. Then are we ready to renew ourselves spiritually.
May God bless you all in the New Year.