Tuesday, January 4, 2011

An Opinion on Resolutions

It seems everyone has an opinion on New Year's Resolutions.

Some think they are a wonderful thing, and everyone should make them. Others are dead set against them and mock those who even bring up the subject.

I think New Year's resolutions can be a good thing. Because of past resolutions, my marriage has been enhanced, my family life has been enhanced, my relationship with the Lord has been improved, my health has benefited, and my mind has been exercised. I don't make resolutions every year, but on the spectrum of opinions, I certainly fall closer to the "resolutions are wonderful" side of things than the "resolutions are a waste of time" side.

One of the arguments against resolutions is that resolutions are soon broken. An example frequently pointed out to me is that YMCA memberships and gym populations swell in January but taper off soon after. Many have resolved to exercise in the new year, but few make it past Martin Luther King Day.

BUT, some do persist. I have not kept all the resolutions (I call them "goals") I have made, but I have kept some, which is more than I would have kept had I not made any goals. Further, even with some of the goals I have not fully kept, I have partially kept them. Goals have set me on the right direction and helped me to make effort where no effort was made before.

For example, if I set a goal to read the Bible through in a year, if I only make it through Romans, will I have wasted my time? Or Jeremiah? Or 2 Kings? No.

Before the Internet, I made resolutions about letter writing. I was not writing letters to grandparents. I decided I should write letters to them, and I set a goal of how often I would write. Even if I did not write as many letters as I intended, the grandparents still received from me some letters instead of no letters.

Resolutions help establish a path, a trajectory, and aid in channeling resources toward a positive end. If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time.

Another argument against New Year's resolutions is that we as Christians shouldn't wait until New Year's to change something. If you see something needs to be changed, change it.

I would agree with that, but New Year's resolutions aren't just about making changes, they're about seeing the changes that need to be made. When I make New Year's goals, I don't just sit down and jot down a list. No, I need to reflect first. I need to slow down and examine my life. We don't do that a lot. And the beginning of a new year seems a natural time to do it.

At Northside, the pastors are evaluated every February. Why doesn't the Church Board just suggest changes when changes need to be made instead of waiting until February? Because the Board doesn't even stop to consider if changes need to be made unless forced to do so by the bylaws.

Absolutely make changes whenever they need to be made, but if you never slow down enough to actually examine and evaluate your life, having a time once a year when you do that is better than never doing it.

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