Resolution: the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
Ever since our children have been quite young, we have had a tradition in our family on New Year’s Eve. We have a special ceremony where we all we sit in a circle in our living room. Everybody from youngest to oldest then takes turns reading from a piece of paper where they have written what they are most thankful for in the past year and their goals for the New Year.
As years have gone by, I have tried to keep as many of the children’s lists as possible. It’s neat to look back on the notes from bygone years, when the children were quite small. As is the way with young children, memories didn’t extend from longer than a few days at the most. So the lists for “most thankful for” included what they had for breakfast that day, going to the park, and Christmas presents. Then as they matured, there were things like making new friends, academic achievements, camps etc.
But what is touching, is the depth of their sincerity regarding their goals for the New Year; to be more obedient, do better at school, control their temper. These goals were borne out of a desire to please as children so much want to do.
As we get older though, it’s important to realize that when we make decisions and commitments, they must be based on what we genuinely feel is right for us, not what others think is right. For example, a New Year resolution to lose weight because your husband has said you need to is not going to work unless you genuinely feel it would a good thing for you to do. Additionally, social mores and cultural beliefs can also influence us.
Alternatively, we sometimes avoid making resolutions because of fear of failure. This fear is predominantly of what others will think of us if don’t succeed. Again, we base decisions not on what is right for us, but on the opinions of others. This is one of the reasons why people fail in completing their New Year resolutions, they weren’t really committed to them in the first place. If you don’t have the foundation right, no amount of planning or strategies will work.
Need and should are words that carry the weight of condemnation about them, like a legalistic religious minister shaking a finger at us. Instead, try phrases like “it would be good to…” or “I would much happier if…”. When we are making decisions for ourselves based on our own beliefs of what is right for us, there is a freedom and liberty that also brings greater commitment and determination.
So in the year ahead, take the time to evaluate what things are most important to you, establishing your goals wisely and thoughtfully. And if you don’t come up with your resolutions until February, who cares? It’s never to late to make a change!