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.