Dec 31, 2011

Time for renewing my resolve

To borrow from Lewis Carroll's "The Walrus and the Carpenter," the time has come.

(Do you remember the poem, recited by Tweedledee and Tweedledum?  This is the one stanza that always sticks in my mind...)

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things: 
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax-- 
Of cabbages--and kings-- 
And why the sea is boiling hot-- 
And whether pigs have wings." 

Because we measure time the way we do, we are preparing to greet a new year at midnight.  And with the new year comes a fresh, new start, at least to our way of thinking.

For some reason, each year we choose this particular point in time and grant it the power to change us.   There's nothing magical about this spot on the calendar - a resolution can be made at any time, and should be made sooner than later when we see something in ourselves that could stand to be improved upon.

But most of us will resolve - either today or tomorrow - to stop some bad habits and/or develop new, better habits.
Gotta love Calvin and Hobbes...
Calvin's view of himself aside, most of us long to improve some area of our life - usually to become healthier and happier in some meaningful, tangible way. But the statistics are discouraging:  the vast majority of resolutions made each year are doomed to fail - my past resolutions are certainly part of the disappointing majority.

Even the word "resolution" has some interesting and paradoxical meanings:  on one hand, it is the quality of being resolute or firm,  on the other it is the act of dissolving or separating something into its basic parts.  At its root is the Latin word resolvere, meaning to dissolve. So which will it be:  will my resolutions remain firm and determined, or will they dissolve like salt in a glass of water? 

Last year, I had the bright and novel idea (don't snicker) of making monthly resolutions instead of annual ones.  I didn't put it into practice - the months slipped by, and my good intentions sailed on the wind just like my past annual resolutions.

Suddenly, here I am again, at the threshold of another new year, fresh and bright with all its potential and promise.

My personal commitments for 2012 are much like those of past years - they represent areas of my life where I want to grow and mature.  "They" (those wise, anonymous people) say you shouldn't make more than  one large or three small resolutions.  I say I have five fingers on one hand - surely I can remember - and work on - that many goals, so here are my 2012 resolutions:

1. Make time each day to cultivate a deeper prayer life (a new prayer journal is due)
2. Read the Bible through this year - no ifs, ands or buts.
3. Exercise at least 4 days a week and drop the last 15 pounds I want to lose.
4. Get my desk re-organized - and maintain it throughout the year.
5. Cultivate the fruit of the spirit in my life:  more love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

That last one is less concrete and measurable, but my plan is to share each month a recap of my struggles and successes in these areas here with you, and I hope you'll encourage me with your comments and input. What are you committed to changing this year?

I hope that each of us will take a few moments to ponder our progress over the past year and make a solemn promise to ourselves - even if it is basic, simple and small - to become better in some way in 2012.  Let's be resolute and committed, so we can achieve our goals, however lofty or small.  And if/when we find ourselves standing at the brink of 2013, we can look back on this year and see where we made some positive strides. 

Happy new year,
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