New Year’s resolutions generally are worthless. We make unrealistic goals of some far off dream without any accountability nor a solid plan. In a few short days, maybe even weeks, we give up because living the way we always have is just easier. It took many decisions and long weeks and months (and often years) to get us to where we are and we want to fix it all at New Years. We set ourselves up for failure and then wonder why we don’t make progress. We think this year is going to be different but we haven’t actually put anything in place to make this year different.
And yet, I love New Year’s resolutions. I enjoy new starts and new opportunities. For some people, January is the only month they actually eat with any sense – so there’s that. I enjoy putting away the old and striving towards the new. It does actually take planning. It takes a significant amount of work. It won’t happen in January and will likely take the whole year – or more. If someone is determined and puts the right plans in place, things can really happen.
One of the biggest barriers to change is the phrase “But I”. We say it so much we don’t even realize what we are saying. I would eat healthier but I…. I would exercise more but I… I would start practicing paying attention to all of creation but I… We continue those sentences with more excuses than we even thought possible. We have failed before, so why try. We have started it and it didn’t work (probably because we didn’t try). We started that but we got busy.
I get it…change is hard. It is real hard. And it is so much easier to stay as we always have than to change. It is easier to continue down the path we are on, even if it is self-destructive. It takes real courage and strength to even take the first step towards change.
What we do not need to do is to set a long list of goals. Pick one. Pick something that matters to you. Find something you can put energy and passion around. Do that. Work on that. Start setting up a plan, find accountability along the way, and celebrate the victories. You will only be where you are now, or worse, if you simply live in the “But I” camp. Maybe it is time to move forward. And maybe today really is the perfect day to do it.
Happy New Year’s Day! Blessings to you!
My New Year’s Benediction (and one I treasure all year long) is from the book of Numbers:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
Photos included in Devotions are captured by David Cain – The Cain Gallery. Photos are available for sale by contacting The Cain Gallery