My resolution for the new year is to not make any resolutions this year. You see, in years past, I’ve spent a few minutes in the waning days of the year to set down some goals for the next year. Lose weight, keep a journal, read, exercise. And sometimes I’d also take some really simple steps toward those goals. Buy running shoes, enroll in a weight loss program, join a gym…read a book about running or cycling or weight loss, and feel as if I was off to a good start. And then I’d begin to make excuses: “January 1 is a holiday so that day doesn’t count.” “I’ve still got 363 more days, no need to rush into this thing.” “It’s too late to start this month, I’ll wait until February 1.” Followed by, “I’ll rerun my New Years resolutions as Lenten Disciplines.” And before I knew it, I’d have worn out my new running shoes by wearing them every day, will have read a few pages of a dozen books, and will be no closer to any of those goals, and feel…well…defeated.
For years I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression. They are frequent companions on my journey through life. And the setting of resolutions and subsequent failure at reaching them give my companions weapons they use against me. “I knew you wouldn’t actually get out and run this year.” “You wasted the money on that bicycle, idiot.” And so on.
The funny thing is, for the first few days after setting those resolutions, I’d actually feel as if I had made progress toward reaching the goals. I bought the shoes, opened the book, wrote the first page of the journal, pumped up the tires on the bike, walked around the block. And probably the most fulfilling, told people about all that I would accomplish in the coming year! And they’re good friends, so when they would see me, they’d ask, “How’s the __________ going? What progress have you made?” And I’d either have to pretend I was succeeding, or admit defeat. Both of which added to my shame, and made it less likely that I’d actually succeed at whatever goal I’d set.
So this year I’m not resolving to do anything. I have no plans to rush out to buy new running shoes, or add to the exercise equipment that already gathers dust in my house and garage. I won’t grow my self-help library by purchasing a few more books I’ll never finish.
Nope. This year is resolution free, well except for that one about not resolving… Instead I will take each day as it comes. I will enjoy time with friends without worrying about what they’ll ask. I will read the books that appeal to me without checking to see if they bring me closer to my goals. I will enjoy the outdoor activities that bring me joy. I will love God, my family, and my neighbor, and will seek to love all people into a living relationship with Jesus Christ.
And in 365 days, I won’t pull out a scorecard to see how I’ve done.