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Speaking up for Resolutions

By • Dec 30th, 2007 • Category: Habits, Personal Development

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When the Christmas holiday is over, the spirit of joy, hope and gratitude can still linger in our hearts and have real meaning in our lives all through the coming year. In a little while, we will have entered a New Year, a blank slate, a fresh beginning. We will have 365 crisp new days to work and play with.

You may be totally disillusioned about the whole issue of setting New Year resolutions and I can understand that. Certainly, I’ve made and abandoned quite a few in my lifetime. But resolutions, New Year resolutions especially, have gotten a bad rap. However, making resolutions has been a positive and encouraging practice for me. Over the years, they have served me well as a tool to help me focus on and inch forward with the things I wanted to achieve. But my resolutions are not wishful or empty promises I make to myself. They are well-thought-out goals with a deadline attached.

Reflection

Usually, I spend the first two weeks in January thinking about my life in a general sense. I reflect on where I began, how far I have come, my experiences, achievements and failures. I ponder about what else I can do with my life and my writing. Prayer is an integral part of this process. After all, what is my life and my work if not used to honor what God wants to accomplish in and through my life.

Evaluation

So, around the middle of January, a sacred ritual for me, I grab my journal and a drink and head out to my favorite spot on the porch. I begin on a positive note – ticking off the goals I have accomplished. Then I decide whether I want to carry forward the rest or just forget about them. There are a couple that have been going from one year’s list to the next for several years. I try not to wallow in too much regret over the things I did wrong or failed to accomplish. Once I know that I have tried my best, I have to conclude that the time wasn’t right and I move on.

As I extract the visibly positive aspects of the year’s experiences, I can’t help but utter a prayer of gratitude. Naturally that leads me to surrender the seemingly negative things to God. For though I only see the negative, in my heart I believe that He works in ways I shall never understand. I know He does what is good and right for me always. How can I not be grateful?

Some of those positive points come in handy when dealing with new or even recurring situations. The most significant ones earn a spot on the wall above my desk to provide a quick shot of inspiration on those days when I am tempted to cave under discouragement, tiredness and plain old laziness.

The list

Next, I write a comprehensive list of my goals – old and new. Some are not so realistic, but I have had seemingly unrealistic goals materialize before my eyes so I include them. Some goals I feel more passionate about than others. Not all of them are grand or potentially life-changing. A few are relatively small but meaningful to me.

Priorities and action plan

What good is a list without priorities? So I put a priority mark next to the ones that matter most for one reason or another. Those priority goals are the ones for which I will develop an action plan in the following weeks after I have done some research on what it might take to achieve them, for instance, (1) do this (2) do that (3) call this one (4) order that etc.

Resolutions and you

So I encourage you, don’t knock resolutions until you’ve tried making them. And even if you have, ask yourself, “What or who failed?” The resolutions or you?

You may only succeed at accomplishing one or two items on your list. Even one success is better than none. Work even harder next time to increase the number of goals you tick off as “Done.” Let your small successes speak for themselves, let them speak for the value of making resolutions or setting goals, let them speak of your dedication to getting things done. Moreover, let them say that you trusted God to give you the desire of your heart.

I hope you will look at your life and all that brings joy into your world. Write them down. Decide which ones take priority. Give your best to every task, every responsibility and every person in your life. Formulate a game plan, set a schedule and begin early, now, maybe even today.

Resolutions, goals, plans, dreams – it doesn’t matter what you call them. It doesn’t matter when you choose to think about them. But since we’re here, now, on the threshold of 2008, let’s do it. Okay?

I wish you success in every endeavor you undertake in the New Year. May you reach for those stars you’ve longed for and never stop trusting God to lead you to the goals you have for 2008 and beyond.

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