Each year, many of us go through the same routine. We make a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight, spend more time with the family, make more money, call your mom more often, earn that promotion, etc. And, because of human nature, so many of us end up not meeting those goals within the time period we set for ourselves. So how can we avoid the regret and heartache of New Year’s resolutions?
Don’t make them.
Of course, I’m not advocating that you refuse to set goals for yourself. Of course you should lose weight, call your mother, or whatever it is you need to do. But why do we have to do it on Jan. 1? Why can’t we make decisions that better our lives on Jan. 3? or June 8? Or Dec. 15?
We shouldn’t measure lifestyle changes by small periods of time: a week, a month, a year. We should constantly be making goals for ourselves, always striving to be better human beings. I’m not a Trekkie, but Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) may have summed up this philosophy the best in Star Trek: Generations: “Someone once told me that time is a predator that stalked us all our lives. But I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey that reminds us to cherish every moment because they’ll never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we live it.”
We must also realize that we will slip up at some point in the pursuit of our goals. It’s in our nature to allow lethargy and our weaknesses to assail us at times. But rather than get discouraged, we should just be able to shake it off, resolve to do better, and press forward.
So how do we live a life of fulfillment without becoming slaves to time and disappointment?
When Paul was instructing Timothy and equipping him for the ministry, he told him: “Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate, made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 6:11-14).
This year, throw off the yoke of convention. Break the bonds of reluctant or half-hearted promises. Perhaps all we need to do is pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. If we can truly grasp those things, it will make it so much easier for our other goals to be fulfilled. Paul understood this life-long process, this fight.
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