Ah, New Year’s Day … you’ve gotta love it. Family, food, football and fun abound. New Year’s Day is second only to Thanksgiving in my home for combined consumption of massive quantities of food and football. It’s enough to bring a smile to any Christmas Scrooge’s face. However, there is a lurking specter involved in the January 1 celebration every year. This looming monster is of course the fiendish, New Year’s resolution.
People worry and fret each year over their resolutions—not only keeping them, but also making them. I’ve actually had lengthy discussions with people who are anguishing over what they are going to select to be this year’s resolution. Should it be weight loss, fitness, a career change, a stronger commitment to family or God? So many things to aspire to, so few past successes to build upon …
So, herewith, I suggest a few ideas for resolutions that will be a success not based on whether or not you achieve them, but they will make you successful, just because you attempted them.
+ Make a friend. Even better, make a point to turn an enemy into a friend in the coming year.
+ Volunteer to do something. Help out at a retirement home or a local children’s hospital. Serve a few meals at a soup kitchen, or deliver food once a week for Meals on Wheels.
+ Bake a cake. Make a clay pot. Paint a landscape, especially if you’re an awful cook or terrible artist. The value is in the baking, molding and painting, not the finished product.
+ The next time you go grocery shopping, buy an extra bag of groceries and drop it off at a community food bank on the way home.
+ Memorize Isaiah 40, or the first Psalm, or Psalm 91. What better use is there for those brain cells?
+ Teach someone to read and enrich their life forever.
+ Read the closing chapters of the book of Job and remember why God is God, and why you are not.
+ If you know someone serving in the military, send them a pre-paid phone card, so that they can call home.
+ Meditate on the Beatitudes and learn how to be blessed.
+ Work hard and enjoy the effort.
+ Rake someone else’s yard for them or shovel the snow off their driveway. If you are unhappy, maybe you can help someone else be less so.
+ Write out one of Paul’s prison epistles in your on words and send them to an unhappy person. If the unhappy person is you, mail it to yourself.
+ Clean something. Organize your closet and find new and more space-efficient ways of folding your clothes.
+ Reread the 23
Psalm as if you had never read or heard it before.
+ Park as far away from the store entrance as you can and enjoy the walk.
+ Sing for the sheer joy of singing.
+ Do something good for someone without them knowing it was you.
+ Send a card to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.
+ Call your mother.
The bottom line: If you want to resolve to do something in the coming year, then resolve to do something for someone else. All of this may not be considered by most people to be worthy of a resolution, but it just may make you happy. Even if it doesn’t make you happy, you haven’t wasted your time just sitting around being sad, and that may put you in a position to rejoice in life.
Remember—enjoy the family, food, football and fun, but also try to make it easier for others to enjoy themselves. That’s a resolution worth keeping, and certainly nothing to fret or worry over.
That’s the solution to the problem of resolutions.[Robert Fortner is just a guy with two kids and too many jobs. You can read more of his writing at robertfortner.netfirms.com.]
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