To Resolve or Not to Resolve

So, I’m working on my sermon for Sunday.  The theme, New Years.  Sometimes the schedule works so that I use this theme before New Year’s Day.   This year, we will be 35 whole hours into the new year before the sermon.  Plenty of time for any resolutions to have already fallen by the way side.  I still think it can be a useful time for reflection.

I am starting to gain some clarity about what I think about New Year’s resolutions.  An experience last night at the meditation group was helpful.  We used some questions from an article in the Huffington Post.  The questions, the article said, are inspired by Kabbalah (a mystical branch of Judaism).  What I like is that the questions don’t actually generate resolutions.  Instead, they encourage reflection on what is important to you.  Such reflection might help you keep any resolutions you make or might help you make more reasonable resolutions in the first place.   But more important, the questions inspire reflection on the direction you are headed and ask if there is any course correction you would like to make.  The questions are ones of intention.

My concern about resolutions is that they are often too specific and too difficult.  We set ourselves up for failure.  The first time we have an extra dessert, don’t get to the gym, or lose our temper, we give up.  In many arenas, it might be more useful to set an intention for the year rather specific goals.  For example, “This year I intend to take better care of myself” or “This year I will be more compassionate.”  Of course, it is important to think about what these would look like in practice (fewer desserts, more exercise, less shouting).  However, it seems to me that a focus on the reason for any changes and the underlining purpose of specific actions would be more likely to sustain us for the long haul.  Such a focus allows us to use our values and intentions as a guide, whatever life might have in store for us this year.

However you celebrate the turning of the calendar, I wish for you a year that finds you in tune with all that is most important to you.

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3 Responses to To Resolve or Not to Resolve

  1. Raquel says:

    I normally don’t do resolutions b/c they are predetermined to fail.
    But this year I am setting a goal, an ideal. I have been thinking on it for about a month and a half so I feel hopeful and committed to it.

    Here it is in my (re-vamped) blog post:

    I will have to let somethings go to make it happen. It is about reclaiming spirit, happiness and gift. Some selfishness will make me a better person for those around me. Well, that’s the plan & theory anyway !

  2. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. I don’t do specific. In fact, did you know, that a forest is actually made of…trees? I had no idea until someone recently pointed it out…
    I guess my point (there is one) is that this (your post) makes a lot of sense. Taking care of my self (jogging with my foster dog who needs the rehab runs, daily and staying, mostly, away from cheese, taking time for myself when I need it) is a better goal than: “I must get eight hours of sleep every night” or “I will never ever look at or think about thinking about an animal byproduct ever again”.

    Thanks for this, as always!

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