thoughts on a new year …

( … and the resolutions that come with it)

I realize that I am six days behind on this one, but Happy New Year!

Lauren and I had a tremendous holiday season. We spent Christmas morning here in Guelph with Lauren’s family before heading to Orkney for a turkey dinner with Lauren’s Mom’s family, and then visited Lauren’s Dad and step-mom in St. Catharine’s over Boxing Day weekend. We had a really fun New Year’s Eve spent eating great food and playing games with friends here in Guelph before making the trip down to Ottawa on the 1st to spend some great time with my family. Throw in the obligatory viewing of Avatar 3D and some World Junior hockey action, and you have yourself a busy but very nice holiday.

And now, we’re back to it, very thankful for the awesomeness that was 2009 and looking forward to what we hope and believe will be a very good 2010.

Around this time of year, the topic of resolutions will undoubtedly come up at some point. I have found that there are generally three ways to approach the New Year’s resolution. There are those who a) set some clear goals for the year, and abandon them within the first week of the year; b) resolve not to make any resolutions, acknowledging the inevitability of falling into that first camp; or maybe even c) set clear goals for the year and do all that they can to persevere and see them through.

Personally, I would like to think that I have come to dwell closer to option c. For the past few years, I have sat down and journaled out a list of things that I would like to accomplish in the coming year. I think it’s important to have a sense of where you have been, and where you would like to go or who you would like to become as the years progress. Certainly there are several examples of the personal abandonment of a particular goal or resolution, but in my mind, it is better to at least give it a shot than to remain stagnant and never attempt to do something new or become more disciplined in a certain area.

For example, I have mentioned before that I am currently in the midst of working through the Bible in one year, a common resolution for Christians. I set out to do that once before, but stopped midway. Instead of asking myself ‘why then bother to try again?’, I am back at it, believing that even if I do stop part way through, it is better for me to have read my Bible consistently for those weeks than to have never picked it up at all.

Lauren and I have talked about some goals that we have for this year, many of which revolve around our quest to get re-established after our year abroad. I have also tried to incorporate some goals that revolve around becoming a more disciplined and less self-focused person, believing that these sorts of things are essential in terms of traveling down the Way of Jesus. It’s challenging to meet goals and keep resolutions, to travel down the road of discipleship, but the fact that it’s hard should not be a deterrent to attempting it in the first place.

I can’t help but think of the great philosopher Jimmy Dugan, responding to the news that Dottie Hinson was quitting the Rockford Peaches because “it just got too hard.” His answer:

It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.

The new year is but six days old. If you haven’t already, take a few moments to write out a list of things you would like to accomplish, disciplines you would like to develop or ways in which you would like to grow this year.

At the beginning of 2011, you might just surprise yourself and realize that you have accomplished something great.

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