I’ve never been one really for making resolutions. To me, New Year’s Resolutions are like Lent: what you give up should make you a better person, not just something you can say you did to feel pious or good. You know what I’m talking about, too. There are those people who say “I’m going to the gym for 2 hours every day!” or “My resolution is to have six months income saved up by April 1.” Lent is the same thing – coffee freaks giving up their java, or someone deciding they’re going to memorize the entire New Testament. I tried to go for things that were really a sacrifice, like being kinder to people, or laying off the snark. Those things shape my character. Okay, memorizing the New Testament probably would shape my character, too.
If I make a resolution, I get excited about what I’m going to do, but by the time the Christmas decorations are back in storage, I’ve lost the idea of the resolution, let alone the excitement. Dave Ramsey’s Facebook wall had this yesterday:
“Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.” ~ Cavett Robert
This made me think: does my inability to even settle on a New Year’s Resolution mean I lack character? I don’t know. Could be. I’ve always been driven by the spectre of a scowling parent who somehow knew whatever it was that I’d done, and there would be hell to pay when I got home. Well, maybe not always hell, but it was sure to involve a toothbrush, scouring powder and grout, along with a severe tongue-lashing, and possibly a physical lashing.
So, I’m trying to get rid of the scowling spectre. I try to be kinder to myself, to take each moment as they come, and to be gentle if things don’t go perfectly. To me, resolutions just set the resolver up for failure, because resolutions tend to be unrealistic and are soon discarded. It’s time to say goodbye to the guilt of failing to keep resolutions.
With that in mind, I do know there are things that I’m going to strive for, things that will make me a better person, not a some unrealistic goal that can never be attained, like working out 2 hours a day every day. I’m striving to be kinder this year. I’m striving to be more generous with my time, talents and possessions. I’m striving to do the best job I can at work for it’s own sake, and not for any recognition. I am determined to have enough discipline to make up my bed in the morning and to make sure the sink in the kitchen is clear before I go to bed.
Maybe along the way, while I’m striving to be a better me, other things will fall into place as well.