I do not like resolutions.
I think they are failures disguised as goals.
But I confess – I often do not have the self-discipline to follow through.
Apparently, I am not alone. Over 80% of Americans who make resolutions for the new year have failed by March. We get so excited about change that we often do not consider how much will, time and discipline it requires to alter a current state to a future one. Partly, because we hold onto past mistakes and failures while doubting future progress and achievement.
I have been pondering what could make real, lasting and satisfying change in the new year (and all years thereafter). Is it more important to do something, or be something? I believe the key is to first become, then do. Instead of making a list of things we want to do bound to fail, perhaps we should make a list of things we need to become bound to succeed?
What if instead of chasing resolutions, we pursued being resolute. Admiringly purposeful, determined, and unwavering – this is an inspiring definition.
We break everything into units of time. January becomes December. Monday becomes Sunday. Morning becomes night. It’s how our brains make sense of this passage of life. As the parenting adage says, the days are long, but the years are short. If we could look at being resolute for the entirety of this short, hard, and beautiful life, we may discover an admirable purpose that transcends goals and resolutions and actually helps us achieve them.
After all, we were created for a distinct purpose. What more of an admirable thing to become than ourselves, who we were created to be?
DeterminedI read a quote recently (and cannot recall who said it), but it went something like this – falling leaves hide the path so quietly. What a wonderful act of grace from God and nature to capture the essence of a transition; to hide the past in one season as we prepare for another. Often what derails our determination is while our minds are fixed on the future, our feet are planted on previous paths.
As followers of Christ, we have the forgiveness of sins and fresh mercies each morning; gifts of freedom and the freedom to fail. Determination means that on the new path, we can fail and keep going. We can fall short of our goal and not be defined by our shortcomings. When we endure obstacles, obtuse people and obstinate challenges (and we will) we can remain undeterred because it is no longer about checking tasks off a list but cultivating wisdom and strength in our purpose.
Recently, my wife and I showed our daughters the film “Rudy”, the true-story of Rudy Ruettiger, a young man determined to play football for Notre Dame. Although this was unlikely and improbable, the small kid with a big heart who was raised in blue-color Illinois faced one challenge after another. Rudy remained unwavering in the pursuit of his dream. Never doubting, always unshakeable, his story captures the essence of grit, pure determination driven by an unwavering vision of what could be. He could not change his physical stature, but he could change the stature of his heart. I doubt he had a checklist of resolutions, but the story emotionally portrays that he epitomized what it means to be resolute.
What areas of our lives could we become more unwavering?
As we stare 2022 directly in the face, I encourage us to consider taking a new approach. There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose more weight, read more books or grow deeper in your relationship with God. These and other goals are good and noble, but if these resolutions were anchored in resoluteness, if we were determined to pursue admirable purpose with an unwavering spirit, this new year could truly reveal a new you.