I dislike New Year’s resolutions. I know I need to make some changes in my life, but saying I will at the beginning of the year doesn’t make them happen. It is easy to say “I will do this and that” or “I will become a better ________ (fill in the blank.) A resolution has more punch if it is tied to a measurable goal. Sometimes this might also mean that I need to have someone help me by holding me accountable. A friend and I meet weekly to talk, study and pray. He told me recently that his desire was to be like the person described in Psalm 1:1-3. That Psalm says:
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3 ESV
This is an admirable goal for the new year. Then I asked him, “how will you know if you are keeping this resolution? Do you know how you can measure this or see if progress is being made?” He and I agreed that this is best accomplished by having others be aware of the goal and asking them to ask questions to check for progress. The alternatives are procrastination or prolonged, forgetful avoidance. So the next time I see my friend he gave me permission to hold him accountable.
At one time, to be “resolved” was a statement of commitment and serious undertaking. Perhaps in our day it is better to say New Year’s Goals. Good goals can be measured. In addition, I am more a fan of new day resolve. Yesterday may have been a failure, but today is a new day. I like the way Jonathan Edwards wrote down his resolutions. In 1723 Jonathan Edwards was resolved. Here are some examples of his resolution list that include thoughts about actions, the truth of scriptures, growth, conversation and character traits that would not make him repel but attract others to follow his example.
There are two things I really like about resolutions 8, 28 and 58.
1) They look at others with a humility that is realistic and truthful.
2) They require careful self-awareness and evaluation based on the truths in the Scriptures. He is preparing his mind. A prepared mind is a key for thinking and responding to life’s opportunities and challenges. He wanted to be a growing disciple and follower of the Lord. In fact, he is echoing what Psalm 1:1-3 says in Resolution 28.
If you are curious about his other resolutions, you may want to visit this web link: Jonathan Edwards Resolutions.
Tomorrow is a new day. Start with time in the scriptures to prepare your mind for action.