The Case for Resolutions

It’s a New Year and besides a bowl of black-eyed peas, many of us will be spending the next few days thinking about what our resolutions and goals for the next twelve months will be. We’ve all been among the group who have started the New Year with the best intentions and given up sometime in March, maybe earlier. Some of us may have done so often enough that we ask ourselves why even make resolutions at all?

When you really think about it 11:59 pm on December 31st still looks remarkably similar to 12:00 am on January 1st. What has physically changed in one minute? Nothing. Yet, it’s not quite the same though. It’s different. It feels different. It feels fresh! New! Exciting, even if just for a little while. Why is that?

The answer, for me, comes from a recent situation with a close friend of mine. We both found ourselves facing a difficult circumstance. The situation did not turn out at all like either one of us had wanted and my friend felt as if sometimes he was too hopeful and apologized for having too much hope when things didn’t turn out the way we wished. I told him he had nothing to apologize for.

Without hope we have something far worse- destitution, despair, and helplessness. Hope is the fuel that propels us forward to a future of our imagination. It is the open door that lets in a cool, fresh breeze to an often stale and smelly situation. It is the substance of what makes up our human soul. It’s no wonder a tradition like creating New Year Resolutions have come to be in our society.

Resolutions allow us to take a moment and look back on what has been. Do a little personal inventory of our life. We get to set some personal challenges to force us away from just being ‘content’ and accepting the ‘status quo.’ We get to prove to ourself that we desire a positive change and are willing to take steps to make it happen. Not all of our resolutions will happen, but they are more likely to happen if we resolve to attempt them then if we don’t do anything about them at all.

Resolutions are made up of just a little bit of that hope created by an open door, or that day dream about your future house or job or whatever you ‘see’ in your mind’s eye. Without a little hope life starts to get dry, dull, listless. One begins to exist and not live.

What really happens between 11:59 pm December 31st and 12:00 am January 1st? Hope. Hope happens. What is it you hope for? What dreams do you have? Why not take the time to write some of them down? Share some of them with friends? Let your hope for something bigger and brighter be the lift you need to see 2021, no matter what COVID does, soaring among the clouds.

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