Happy New Year!
It took willpower but the final crumbs of the cheese straws have been thrown in the trash and all the Christmas candy has been consumed. And praise the Lord the kids are finally back in school! So now it’s just me and my double chin hanging out, ready to make some New Year’s Resolutions.
But really, what exactly are new year’s resolutions and how did this tradition get started? In 1813 a Boston newspaper ran an article where these three words were first mentioned:
“And yet, I believe there are multitudes of people, accustomed to receive injunctions of new year resolutions, who will sin all the month of December, with a serious determination of beginning the new year with new resolutions and new behaviour, and with the full belief that they shall thus expiate and wipe away all their former faults.”
Yeah. I’d say that’s pretty much on target. Merriam-Webster seems to be in agreement with the above writer and says that the word resolution actually means “the act of determining.” With all that determining going on, some serious changes are about to be implemented and faults magically erased.
Yet, if you happen to say: Hey Siri! How many people achieve their new year’s resolutions? A disappointing answer of only 8% is given. What?! How could that be with all that determination we set out with on January 1st?
I am no psychologist, but maybe it has to do with our mindset and the way we go about trying to achieve our goals. Perhaps we should try a little New Year’s Reflection instead.
The word reflection is defined as “consideration of some subject matter, idea, or purpose.” Hmmm. This definitely seems a more thoughtful approach of goal-setting. Reflection allows us to celebrate and continue what is working and implement strategies to improve what isn’t working. Let’s explore some scenarios.
Resolution: I want to lose weight in 2017.
Reflection: It is important to be healthy for myself and for my family and even though I’m not a big fan of sweating, I like how I feel after I work out. I also feel better if I don’t eat large quantities of sugar. Therefore, I am setting a goal of lifting weights every Tuesday and Thursday and adding cardio activity 3 times per week. I will also fast from sugar for 21 days and then eat it in moderation, tweaking it week by week.
Resolution: I want to have more money by the end of 2017.
Reflection: I would really like to have the financial freedom to be able to buy our dream home in the next five years so that our family can enjoy it before the kids are grown. Therefore, I will continue to systematically save a set amount each month. I will download budgeting software and will keep track of areas where we can cut spending, evaluating it on a monthly basis.
Resolution: I want to grow closer to God in 2017.
Reflection: I absolutely love how my relationship with God has flourished this past year by making the commitment to rise early and meet with Him daily. I know that reading His Word and praying makes me a better wife, mother, friend, employee, and daughter of the King. Therefore, I will continue to practice this discipline, and I will put forth the effort to attend a routine Bible study with other women who seek Him first.
I like the purpose-driven nature and sustainability that a New Year’s Reflection provides rather than a New Year’s Resolution, don’t you? Whatever your goals are in 2017, my friend, I pray the Lord will bless them and that you will resolve to make the only real reflection that matters: to let your life be a reflection of the Light of Christ.
As water reflects the face,
so one’s life reflects the heart.