Copyright © 2011 by Ralph Couey
(except quoted portions)
"A resolution to avoid an evil
is seldom framed till the evil is so far advanced
as to make avoidance impossible."
"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed
is more important than any other."
We all seem to go through this exercise every New Years. We look back at our past life, identify certain faults and bad habits, swear to ourselves that we will strive to overcome them -- and then two weeks later, rationalize our way right out of them. It is a so very human thing to do. Thomas Hardy's quote above would certainly sting most of us. The further down the hill you walk, the harder it will be to climb it again. The trick is to identify those disasters-in-making before they become so large and so difficult that fixing them becomes impossible.
While we may tell others that we're happy with our lives, very few of us really are. There's always something we can fix, some bad decisions we can avoid, and even some situations we can try to put behind us. Part of that is good, in that we should always strive to better ourselves. Joe Namath once said, "I can't wait until tomorrow because I get better looking every day." Putting aside the obvious self-absorption in that statement, it's not a bad attitude to have. We all have value; to ourselves, to others, and to God. To ignore that and focus on the bad parts is at the very least, counterproductive. We should take a moment at this time of the year and reflect back for a few moments on the good we've done. Knowing that we have done kind, unselfish, and loving things in the past should make it much easier to do them again in the future.
As I've written before, my habit is to not make resolutions until the spring. The return of sun, warmth, and new growth helps me to reinforce those promises that in the past have died a quick death in the long, cold days of January and February. Historically, those resolutions I have made in April and May have been far more successful than the ones I used to make in January.
2011 was for us not a bad year. We added two granchildren to our family, with another due any day. I was rescued from a bad employment situation by a new job that has been nothing but fun since the day I started. My lap-band surgery was successful and I'm down just over 100 pounds since I started that process. My self-esteem, as a result is so much higher than ever. I find myself far more willing to challenge myself, and expect success as a result. As sad as it is to say, fat people just aren't taken seriously by their skinny colleagues. Although we are neck-deep in a relocation right now, and the selling of our old house in Somerset isn't all we'd like it to be, we nonetheless face a brighter future than the one we faced just 12 months ago.
I know now that none of this would have taken place had I decided to float along with the events that were unfolding at the time. Good things happened because I stood up, made a decision, and took control. Yes, there have been some days when despair enveloped me. But I vowed not to let myself become drowned in bad feelings. I was particularly successful in forcing myself into positive mental and emotional states, which made those decisions much easier. Mr. Lincoln's quote has been my byword in 2011 and will continue to lead me through 2012. I won't be deterred by setbacks; I won't let depression and sadness take me over. In outer space, the explosion of a single star provides the raw materials for the birth of a dozen more. In the challenges I will face in the coming year, are the lessons that, if I take the time to learn them, will prove to be the foundations for a better life.
I look forward to 2012. I am convinced that the next 12 months will be full of promises made and accomplishments attained. I will survive the tough times because I have simply decided to do so. And the force of that decision will make all the difference. I know that 2012 will be the springboard for an even better 2013.
Unless, of course, the Mayans were right all along.