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Two New Year's Resolutions postcards

New Year's Resolution Postcards--Can someone send me one in July? Image via Wikipedia

I’ve told you I no longer make resolutions, because goals with definite timeframes (or at least definite steps to follow) are a lot easier for me to stick to. Even though they don’t work for me, I realize the positives and purposes of resolutions. Lately, however, I notice a million blogs bashing resolutions, as if they’ve done something to ruin their lives. New Year’s resolutions don’t go around shooting dogs or tying people to chairs and stuffing them with chocolate, so why do people hate them so much?

I think the problem is not with resolutions, but with our responses to getting what we wished for. The thing is, when we pray for patience, God doesn’t just rain patience on us. We don’t just wake up and the morning gridlock no longer bothers us, or waiting in line becomes a zen filled experience. What happens is we find our patience being pushed to its limits more and more, until we find we can tolerate much more than we ever thought we could…or get arrested…or into a fistfight at Wal-Mart… or scream at our loved ones on the phone. In other words, we are given opportunities to develop the skills to get what we asked for.

When you write down your resolutions and decide to lose weight or write that book, you send out the call to test your resolve. If you don’t want to be challenged, don’t declare you want to do anything. Just be regular, boring, doing just enough to get by you. But if you do decide to declare something, be prepared to work for it. You will be presented with all sorts of better alternatives than going to the gym and coming home sore. People you haven’t heard from in years will call you as soon as you sit down to write. Just remember, you invited the challenges when you welcomed the desired end result.

People get upset with and bash resolutions because they fail to stick to their resolutions; they didn’t “resolve” to persevere, and now they deride making the commitment at all. Having a resolution is not bad; realizing you’ve bitten off more than you can chew is not bad either. What’s bad is being so afraid to fail, you hate being definitive about what you want and let it stay nebulous enough for you to achieve a tiny fraction of what you could have if you had pushed yourself to be more.

Leave people who make resolutions and goals alone. Leave resolutions alone. If you are making resolutions this year, don’t let the naysayers lessen your resolve to be great. Can you make resolutions and goals anytime of year you want? Yes. Does it take just as much resolve to stick to a goal starting June 1st as it does to stick to one starting January 1st? Yes. Whenever you choose to be more, do more, accomplish more, I just ask you stick with it. If you don’t, don’t blame it on resolutions.