LAST YEAR, our first together as a family, we set the snare and expected our catch to be plentiful. The snare: goals listed for the twelve months lying unlived ahead. The expected catch: months filled with progression and growth and satisfaction at the sight of a better us. Each of us a more matured improved compared to the previous year’s version of ourselves. The girls colored and decorated their lists with exuberance and maybe even proper expectation. A brunch toast was offered to the effort that would be given in the year ahead. Our family would be better because of our planning, our desire and our resolute labor. Celebration ensured and we were sure of the year ahead. Our resolutions all held the promise of a better version of ourselves. We taught them the snare was good – good to be caught and had. And so their lists, made with care, were fitted to each of their closet doors to serve as reminder to be better, or else apparently. So goes the bait set into the snare.
Resolutions. Each year we see an improved, more desirable us waiting on the other end. We will be better, stronger, healthier, smarter, more interesting and so on and so on and so on. Our resolutions will be faithful and take us there, if we will only follow through.
While nearly half of our population casts forth resolutions, the doorway to a better them, eight percent of those who make resolutions will follow through and achieve their goal.1 Quite an attrition rate. So what should be made of resolutions and those of us who make them? Is it not a noble aspiration to want to improve yourself, to progress and change?
As I see it, the problem with resolutions and those who don’t achieve them does not lie within the act of setting goals, but in the spirit of desire in which those goals are named. What I mean is that a better you will exist once you cure the diseased thought within. We will only be better after we are fully accepting of ourselves, as we are in the present – before our hoped for metamorphosis. Scripture bears truth as Psalm 139 informs us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. At the start, we are acceptable, carefully crafted to the design and image of our Creator. We make unsuitable choices that need correcting, and that’s where resolutions come into the picture. Our resolutions should be viewed as tools to improve and correct ourselves, rather than making us into a better, more acceptable version of ourselves. In other words, set the resolution, but know your value, just as you are presently first. Do it for yourself, not for others or for the image culture sets in your brain. Then you’ll stand a much greater chance of achievement and enjoyment of change and improvement along the way.
Despite our set goals last year, we discussed how short we came in actually achieving our resolutions. At best, we could confidently claim that we reached only part of our goals for 2014. We didn’t read as much as we set out to, didn’t practice as much as we aspired to, didn’t do all the things together that we wanted to, didn’t celebrate as much and in the end, we were not as improved as we hoped to be twelve months earlier. In fact, our first year as a family was much more difficult than any of us anticipated. Had we known what we know now about year one, well, perhaps we would’ve never set out on the journey together. One thing is certain: we all change with life’s movement forward, whether we really want to or not. And change we did, all for the better, despite our lack of resolution achievement.
This year was different for us. We talked about simple changes we wanted to make and small victories that could be reached as a family. Our little seven-year-old, perhaps wisely, calls her resolutions, revolutions. Maybe the best thing we could do at the start of another year is to revolt against a cultural idea that places value on an image of ourselves only accepted once we’re better. Our number one re(v)solution, small yet defining, is to beat the eight percent. Only a handful of days in, cheers to achievement but thank God for acceptance.
Source: University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology1
Image: Happy New Year