The presents have been unwrapped, the goodies devoured and time shared with friends and family - joyful for some and not so for others - now the tree and decorations come down, we wait "patiently" in store lines to make exchanges and thoughts for many of us turn to New Years resolutions. There's something about a new year that means a fresh start. Webster's dictionary defines a resolution as: the quality of being resolute: determination, a formal statement expressing the opinion, will or intent of a body or persons.
Perhaps 2014 was your best year yet or maybe it was a year full of sickness, unemployment, family/personal issues or other trials - a year you'd like to forget altogether. Many resolutions end up broken by February - yet there can be something worthwhile about setting realistic goals that make us accountable for living with resolve. One help in accomplishing goals is to make a list and post in a spot where one can easily refer back to it every few weeks to check progress and those things that still need to be accomplished - the goals can be serious, simple or silly. You may not accomplish all your goals, however, the point of the list isn't to force yourself to do and be more - through guilt - but to live 2015 with resolve.
It's wonderful if resolutions help us accomplish a goal but if that goal is something we know we won't follow through on, maybe we need to rethink the idea of yearly resolutions. It may be helpful to look at the previous year and determine whether your habits are healthy or harmful. Ask yourself what struggles you had in the previous year, how you grew and in which life areas you think God would like to see growth. Decide which areas you can and should work on in the coming year and write them down. Also consider reading books that may help you achieve your goals.
One goal for each of us should be to continually deepen our relationship with God and grow in character. An alternative to a list of resolutions is the concept of the One Word - the book "My One Word: Change Your Life With Just One Word", authored by Mike Ashcroft and Rachel Olsen, explains the concept. The book cover description: The concept of My One Word is simple. Lose the long list of resolutions-all your sweeping promises to change-and do something about one thing this year instead of nothing about everything. Choose just one word that represents what you most hope God will do in you, and focus on it for an entire year. This simple act will force clarity and concentrate your efforts. As you focus on your word over an extended period of time, you position yourself for God to form your character at a deep, sustainable level. Growth and change will result.
Each day is a gift that we've been given - it's up to us to make the most of it. "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me". Psalms 51:10, KJV
How do you feel about New Years resolutions? Do you make resolutions - if so, do you keep them? What helps you set and achieve the resolutions you make?