Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Resolving to Be Less Vague

res·o·lu·tion  (rz-lshn)
1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.
2. A resolving to do something.
3. A course of action determined or decided on.

  1. 1.
    settle or find a solution to (a problem, dispute, or contentious matter).
  2. 2.
    decide firmly on a course of action.

Now that we've settled that, let's talk about it. Or let's not.

I was never big on New Year's Resolutions for the very reason that they are good intentions which are acted upon for a time, then usually forgotten. Or, maybe not forgotten, but...well, it's just too hard to follow through on it. And that only sets us up for guilt and condemnation.

I'm going to exercise more. Or lose weight. Eat better. Spend more time with the kids or spouse. Work harder at____________.  Read my bible more. Spend more time with God. Be a better spouse. 

The problem with all of those things is that they are too vague. What's "more?" Define "better." How much weight would you like to lose? How about setting a goal? What is the action plan? When we're too vague, we flounder. We don't know if we've done enough. We have nothing to measure it against, except for last year's failures. And that was vague too.  Maybe we should resolve to be less vague. But even that is vague.

All of this "vague-ness" only sets us up for failure, which leads to disappointment in ourselves. "See," says satan from his corner office at Black Bear Headquarters--except the voice sounds strangely like our own---"You failed again. I knew you couldn't do it. What's the point? Well, at least I tried," we say, as we pop another candy into our mouth. 

There is nothing wrong with New Year's Resolutions. They can help us get back on track to a healthy physical and spiritual lifestyle. But be specific in your resolutions. It will help set you up for success instead of failure. And be kind to yourself, should you backslide. It's okay! 

I prefer to make daily resolutions. Because God's mercies are new every morning, and because I look at each day as a new beginning and a fresh start...a sort of "do over" from the day before, I like to make my resolutions when I awake. But I don't decide firmly on my course of action, as the word "resolve" suggests; rather, I like to put it in my Savior's hands. Ask Him to guide me as I attempt to eat healthy foods, exercise (that one is especially difficult), be a loving spouse and a kind person, and let my light shine. That's all I can do. If I fail, I get to try again the next day. I prefer the daily resolution over a whole year's resolution. It's more manageable. And I'd rather deal with the guilt from one day's failure, not a whole year's resolution's worth. But that's just me.

How about you? What are your "New Year's Resolutions?" How about let's start with "Be more specific about my New Year's Resolutions?"

Blessings Along the Path,

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