There are two kinds of people:
A.Those who make New Year’s Resolutions
B. Those who don’t.
The smart ones, like my husband, are in category B. They don’t set themselves up for failure. He just makes “To Do” lists every week or so and methodically checks them off. On the other hand, every New Year’s Day I sit with pen and journal, going through an excruciating self-inventory, praying and pondering my New Year’s Resolutions. Dallas relaxes with a book across the room, now and then giving me a knowing smile (actually a smirk).
It’s a good news/bad news process. I feel so inspired – a clean slate! A new chance to finally become the person I want to be. Thin of course, always on time, never interrupting others, my home neatly organized, never losing my keys, cell phone or glasses, amazingly thoughtful of others, and a whole slew of other aspirations to turn me into the efficient yet gracious, loving person I want to be.. The bad news: if I looked at my journals for previous years, I would find the very same resolutions! Good grief.. I could skip the whole ordeal and just put ditto marks under them.
Of course you know what happens. By mid-January I’ve broken my lofty resolutions, my prayers are mostly apologies to God, and a Dr. Phil voice asks in my head, “How is it working for you?”
But good news!
I have found perfect help for all of us “Resolution Makers” in Category A.. I bought a new wall calendar at Office Depot, and on the Janujary page I found these shining words of wisdom: “KEEP CALM AND SET NEW GOALS.” Did you notice? Goals, not resolutions! I felt lighter when I read it. Somehow there seemed a huge difference between the two. To understand why, I looked up the dictionary definitions.
“To resolve” means “to deal with successfully.” A resolution means you must succeed. No wriggle room for stumbling along the way. It seems grim, stern, hard-edged. No wonder when we break our resolutions (which as humans we’re bound to do) we often give up altogether.
On the other hand, my dictionary says a goal is “the end toward which effort is directed.” I love that! A goal is the direction you want to go. It’s inspiring, inviting, user-friendly. To set a goal is to hitch your wagon to a star, follow your dream. Goals don’t get “broken” like resolutions. We can hold fast to them. When the scales stay stuck on an awful number, when my desk is invisible under clutter, or I blurt out a remark while my friend is talking, my goals help me renew my efforts and keep trying.
What a relief. Forget making New Year’s Resolutions. Just set some goals, aim toward them, and enjoy a wonderful, very “Happy New Year.”