This might be a weird thought for this time of year – but let’s admit that we have all thought it in the back of our minds for several years. We know even if we have the best of intentions – most of our resolutions are broken before March comes around. Those of you who have kept your New Year Resolutions really don’t get much pleasure from sharing your triumphs when the rest of us just raise an eyebrow and wonder why you have to toot your own horn.
Yes – it really does make a difficult beginning of every year if we know there are things we need to change to make life easier, better, safer, healthier…. etc. etc. But unless we really want to make those changes, they only hang around and make us feel like guilty losers. So – this weird thought is:
Why not just make blessings instead of resolutions.
We could give ourselves a “good for you” pat on the back each time we accomplish one of those changes we know we need to make. Not making promises that we will continue, but letting ourselves feel the appreciation for our efforts each time. This is the way we train puppies and children – rewarding the good behaviors. (Yes, equating children and puppies is not well received by new parents – but grandparents will understand and appreciate the comparison.)
So when you take a walk instead of eating that lonely slice of pie that has been sitting around all week – you can feel good about yourself – and even have the darn pie later on. You won’t feel nearly as guilty for eating it if you took the walk first. Maybe by putting off the indulgence for twenty minutes will become a habit. But if it doesn’t, you won’t berate yourself each time you indulge.
Those of us who are caught in the quandary of bad habits that have hung around for years – already know that our efforts have only brought shame and cheating when we try to hold to strict rules we have set down for ourselves – rules that we really didn’t want to make in the first place but were guilted into making.
We put ourselves in bondage when we are disgusted with our own behavior and cannot forgive ourselves for going back on “promises” we made to ourselves – that’s how we take New Year’s Resolutions – as “promises”.
Our body takes on the punishment because our psyche has picked up the whip and chains to chastise us. Each year’s new batch of broken promises adds another ailment or complaint and we perpetuate this year after year.
We can break that cycle – this year. Here’s a chance to really follow the Bible’s teachings. In Genesis we are told that we are made in the image of God. And this is strengthened in Psalms 139:14:
“I will give thanks to you because
I have been so amazingly and miraculously made.
Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this.”
Keeping this most precious thought foremost in our minds can help in our behaviors and choices. Remembering that we are amazing – that God loves and cares for us all the time – and that God’s love is unconditional – allows us some breathing room to out-wait our impulses.
It may take several months of trying this new way – but isn’t having a loving and beautiful thought about ourselves better than what we’ve had in the past?