How many people have made their resolutions this New Year? It is traditional to make resolutions every new year, and as the saying goes, "New year, new resolution". One of the reasons I guess, is that New Year represents new opportunities, a new dawn, the beginning of something new and we don't want to carry the "bad" old into this virgin brand new year.
The end of an old year represents a universal closure of some sort. Now we can lay that old year to rest, put the old habits away and find newer healthier ones. I guess it is our innate desire for closures and new beginnings that makes New Year exceptional. And truth be told, we do not live in eternity, here, we are demarcate by times and seasons that come in cycles, every season and time requiring new sets of activities and interests. In eternity, time is irrelevant, that is why it is called forever. Forever is timelessness, People don't age in eternity, the concept of time does not exist, God and other spirit beings live in eternity already. When we die, we drop our physical bodies and our spirit and soul live on in eternity.
On this side of eternity, there are a couple of obvious and important things: Firstly on this side, we age! Everyone grows older on a daily basis, and as we grow old, our physical body ages, wears down and dies! Then secondly, there is time limit, no activity on this side is unending, and that is good news, whatever bad things we are going through must end. Many times a resolution is one of our ways of "wishing" an end to the bad, and the beginning of the good. Thirdly, at the end of every time and season, we evaluate and make judgment. Were the activities worthwhile or useless? Should I consider doing it again or not? Was that even a proper use of my time or not? If I knew what I know now, would I still do the same thing? By the way if we mortals evaluate and judge, I usually wonder why people think that when we die and transit, there will be no judgement. That thought is inconsistent with our fundamental ways and organization. There will be judgment of what we did with our time here. The Giver of life will require from us what use we put our time to. There will also be rewards and punishment.
Fourthly, given the preceding thoughts, then time is a resource, a means of exchange. It is what we give up for what we want to enjoy. You've heard people say I paid a big price. I have come to recognise that the biggest price is time! That is also one of the reasons why the New Year is important. Everything on this side of life is a function of time and we ask questions like i.e. how much have you committed? And how much time will it cost or take? How much of my time has it taken already? And what was the reward or benefit? Our judgement of the good or otherwise of an activity or event is a function of the time it took and the benefits that accrued to us from that time investment. Some people come off and say "I wasted my time", and some come off and say, "I used my time well". We are taking decisions for good and bad based on our perception of time and its extant derivable benefit
I have a scripture, Psalm 90:12: Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
Now the New Year has come and we are back to making resolutions. This year I will quit smoking, This year I will go to church at least twice every month, this year I will pray 10mins every day, this year, I will exercise at least 10 and the list goes on and on. As far as I am concerned, making resolutions is a good place to start. However, I like to add a few more things that will take this resolution away from being a nice wish to something concrete that is transformative:
1. Write down your resolutions: Take your notebook or journal and write down all the things you have resolved to do this year. One of the main reasons why people forget their resolution is that they don't write them down. So while they come up with very nice resolutions, it is not articulated and concretized. Writing down your resolution concretizes them and turns them into goals. The fainted ink, the old Chinese proverb says, last longer that the best memory. The alchemy of resolution into goals takes place when we write resolutions down.
2. Be definite: Firstly, be definite in duration Instead of saying I will exercise more, say I will exercise at least 20 mins every day. Instead of saying, this year, I will go to church more, say this year; I will go to church at least twice a month at the minimum. Become definite. Secondly be definite in setting target time or period e.g. I want to register for a new course in May this year. I will travel to Australia in November, for the first time. Once you become definite in target time, then your result can be measurable and achievable. Thirdly become definite in your choice of words. Use committal words as against non-committal words. This puts some tone of finality to the resolutions in your own mind e.g. Instead of saying I will try and quit drinking and smoking this year, say, I will quit smoking this year.
3. Break your resolution down into small goals: e.g. I will quit smoking, so what do I do to achieve that? . . . Goal 1: Stop hanging around smoking bars, attend therapy this January, change my smoking friends and buddies to new ones etc. Ask yourself, "What do I need to do to achieve this goal?" Find that out, write them down and start doing them.
3. Don't give up and throw all your resolutions away just because you missed it somewhere. Don't be like to the lad that said, I smoked one stick already, I may as well smoke the whole pack. If you miss you goal at one point, don't walk away and say, I have missed it, No, stand up, repent and move on. I tell you, you are already better than you've always been just by making that decision to continue. You may miss it sometimes, but don't quit and draw back. Don't beat yourself over the head for missing the mark, rise up, shake yourself up and move forward. Always remember, a child never quits trying to walk because she fell the last time.
4. Reward yourself: Celebrate your victories quickly. If you achieve your milestone, celebrate. Go buy yourself a new book, or CD or whatever, Take yourself to the spa and get a massage etc. Celebrate!
Happy New Year!