By Kelly Boggs, Baptist Message Editor
While researching the subject of New Year’s resolutions I came across the following quote: “He who breaks a resolution is a weakling; He who makes one is a fool.”
The person from who made this quote is obviously as much a pessimist as a cynic when it comes to making a fresh start on Jan. 1.
G.K. Chesterton had a different take on the making of resolutions. “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,” wrote the English author. “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.”
In recent years, the making of New Year’s resolutions – or rather the breaking of them – has become fodder for late-night comics. That said, I agree with Chesterton that there is something noble about seeking to better oneself with the making of resolutions.
Once a person reaches the point that he or she sees no value in seeking to become better by resolving to change, that person has given up on living life and has settled on simply existing. This, if you think about it, is in and of itself a resolution –- a resolution to settle for mediocrity.
The problem with too many resolutions is they lack imagination. It seems everyone makes the same resolutions and some make them year after year. According to a federal government website the following are some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions:
n Lose weight.
n Eat right.
n Manage debt.
n Save money.
n Get a better job.
n Quit smoking.
When it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, I have found that less is more. By making only a few resolutions, I am able to concentrate on two or three aspects of my life that I really want to change. As a result, I give myself a much better opportunity to follow through.
Trying to make wholesale changes to your life in a year’s time is difficult at best. However, making only one or two changes annually, over time, you can change almost every aspect of your life. If you altered two things a year for 10 years, you will have changed 20 aspects of your life. And that, my friend, is significant change.
I recently came across something titled Wisdom for Life written by business and ministry consultant Bobb Biehl. It was short and to the point. In it, he quoted author Stephen R. Covey.
“I have ... found that by making four simple assumptions in our lives we can immediately begin leading a more balanced, integrated, powerful life,” Covey wrote.
What are these four assumptions? They are as follows:
1. “For the body, assume you have had a heart attack; now live accordingly.”
I found the first assumption sobering, because if I don’t change certain aspects of my life, I could well be a candidate for a coronary. So by assuming, or pretending, I have had one, I simply need to ask, “Will this help or hurt my health?
2. “For the mind, assume the half-life of your profession is two years; now prepare accordingly.”
Being an involved in the field of journalism, this is not a difficult assumption for me. As a result, I must be constantly looking to the future to not only seek how to enhance the communication tool known as the Baptist Message, but also my own knowledge base and skill set.
3. “For the heart, assume everything you say about another, they can overhear; now speak accordingly.”
The third assumption also is a sobering one and reminiscent of Jesus’ words, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Enough said.
4. “For the spirit, assume you have a one-on-one visit with your Creator every quarter; now live accordingly.”
As a believer, I shouldn’t wait three months to visit with God. I can, and should meet with Him constantly. However, the thought of scheduling a regular “performance review” with the Lord could, and should, have a real impact on my daily decisions and thus my life.
As a result of Covey’s wisdom, I have resolved this year to make four “New Year’s assumptions.” And while I likely will fail from time to time, I believe the effort will pay off and I will be better for it this time next year – which makes me no weakling and certainly no fool.