I’ll say it: I hate social media this time of year. Repetitive “Merry Christmas, happy new year” messages. People skimping on Christmas card costs by writing blanket messages to everyone on their friends list (Guilty, but I’m not grown up enough to do real Christmas cards just yet), and then the new years posts start flooding in. They’re typically overly reflective, a bit corny and a little preachy. I don’t like them.
But a mate of mine said something the other day that struck me: If we don’t make new years resolutions because we believe they will fail, we are saying to ourselves that we are destined to fail, that we aren’t made of the right stuff to succeed. It isn’t how we should see ourselves. It sure isn’t how God sees us. It’s a wrong attitude.
I thought it was a darn’ good point. Now I’ve always been a bit of a resolution maker, so I didn’t take that much encouragement. But I thought I’d pass on the gem.
I have a few reasons why I make new years resolutions though. Here they are:
1. There is power in writing stuff down. I don’t just make resolutions mentally. I do it on paper. I don’t know what it is about that, but it works. I remember making a list of 100 things I wanted to do before I died, as a kind of fun thing with friends. I wrote it, forgot about it and didn’t find until years later. When I did, I realised that I had actually achieved a surprising number of things on that list. Some of them quite by serendipity. For example, I’d written that I’d like to stand in an election. I wasn’t massively serious, and I forgot about it. Three years later, my Dad took a phone call from a friend of his who was standing for a minor party and needed a candidate in our area. He pulled the phone away from his ear, said “Do we know anyone?” I said no. Then we both said “Oh heck why not” and nominated me. Perhaps coincidence, or perhaps there is power in writing things down.
2. It brings focus and focus is good. Sometimes we get so busy with life that we aren’t doing things on purpose. We are simply doing them because we are on autopilot. We do the chores, the shopping, the work stuff, rinse and repeat. But we forget to do things towards a goal. Even if for only a moment at the beginning of the year, we think about the type of person we want to be and the kind of lives we want to have, then this is good. Focus is powerful. We can’t be on purpose if we don’t have a purpose. We need focus to get there.
3. Time is precious and reflection time can shine a light on what we are and aren’t doing with our time. I don’t want another year to pass when I waste a lot of time. Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean I want to be a workaholic. For me, rest and play time is something I have to focus on for my own well-being. It also makes me more productive when I am at work.
So in 2015, I know what I am focusing on. One of those things is finishing ‘The Remnant’ and getting it published. There are a million other things (actually no: there are nine. Three personal, three business, three spiritual), but I won’t bore you with them. I”ll just say this: If you aren’t a resolution maker, give it a crack. Don’t expect failure. You should believe in yourself more than that.