Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Making resolutions

Well, my friends, 2013 will soon be coming to an end. What an incredibly wonderful year it has been for me. As I go throughout the day today, I will likely be thinking a lot about the blessings of this past year and also about my hopes and dreams for 2014.  I have not made my New Year’s resolutions yet; that will come tomorrow morning during my quiet time of reflection. Last year I made 10 of them; and for the first time in my life, I kept almost all of them!

As you go about your day today and as you ponder your own resolutions, I want to share some thoughts I have about making resolutions.  So many times when people make resolutions, they make them knowing full well that they are so lofty and unachievable that it is very unlikely that they will be kept beyond a few days or weeks.  Part of the reason I was able to keep my resolutions last year was because they were specific….realistic….and contained “actions” rather than goals.  Perhaps you will have success in keeping your resolutions if you think about actions as well. Let me explain……

Instead of saying, “I’m going to lose 50 pounds (or whatever number you choose)”, perhaps saying “this year I am going to replace my fast-food lunch each day with a healthy lunch I pack at home” or “I am going to limit my “eating out” to one day a week instead of 3 or 4” would be a better choice. Or “I am going to alternate one bottle of soda with one bottle of water” or some other healthy options.

Instead of : I am going to save money in 2014, try: this year I am going to bring a cup of coffee with me in a travel cup each morning instead of going to Starbucks or Tim Horton’s.  Or: I am going to cut coupons for products that I know I would purchase anyway and put the money in a jar.  Or: I am going to have a garage sale this spring and use that money for Christmas gifts.

Instead of: I’m going to join a gym and exercise every day, try: This year I am going to take the stairs at work and I am going to consciously park at the far end of the parking lot every time I go to the store. Or: I am going to learn a new hobby or sport.  That way you’ll be sure to be more active even if you don’t make it to the gym several times a week.

Instead of: I am going to be a nicer person, how about, ‘this year I am going to send a card/note/letter to at least one person a month, or I am going to stop before I say anything negative about someone, or I am going to let the person behind me in the checkout line with only a few items go ahead of me…. Or……

Instead of: I’m going to work on my relationship with God, how about, “I am going to get up 10 minutes early each day so that I can spend some quiet time in prayer and thought before beginning my day.  Or I am going to try to attend church at least once or twice a month or I’m going to try to read a couple of books with a spiritual theme. As a result, you’ll grow in your faith.

When we make resolutions that include actions or concrete things, we will find that those things become a habit, a way of life, and as a result, the goal of the resolution doesn’t seem so overwhelming and will be realized. When your resolutions involve improving your life, your well-being, your health, and the lives of those around you, you certainly won’t fail.  I’m not sure what my list will look like, but I’ll be sure to share it…or parts of it in a day or so. I’ll be anxious to hear what resolutions you plan to make.

Be safe if you are out and about tonight…..and keep on believing that 2014 will be a year of great joy….a year of change….a year of growth.