Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Years Resolutions by Terry Burns

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution?

That’s the traditional way to greet the New Year. Personally, I think the only time I have kept such a resolution is when I resolved not to make any more dang fool resolutions. In our family it was eating black-eyed peas and sauerkraut to welcome the New Year and bring us luck. Well, actually the sauerkraut wasn’t in there, it came from my wife’s side of the family.

We do these things not because we think they will bring us luck but out of tradition. I don’t believe in Luck, I believe in being in God’s favor. Trusting in luck leaves God out of the equation.

All right, if I don’t believe in luck and don’t make resolutions, then starting a New Year is no big deal, right? I wouldn’t say that. Putting the old year behind us and facing the new one with hope and anticipation is a good thing. To me the mechanism for looking forward is not a resolution, but a to-do list.

This is nothing new, there is always a to-do list. Life is good when we are making progress working down the things on our list. Stress comes when the list starts mounting and we don’t seem to be making progress. When that happens it is often because the things on our list are too big, and they are overwhelming us. They need to be broken down into smaller tasks that are achievable.

Writing a book is too big. It needs to be broken into a time period in which we will write a couple of thousand words. Loosing weight is too big, it needs to be losing a couple of pounds in a certain time. Those chores around the house need to be achievable, or broken down.

And some things don’t belong on the list. I smile on a lot of the manuscripts I receive. The plot develops until the protagonist is forced to their knees, forced to admit that they simply cannot resolve the problem facing them. It is written in such as way as if the author has just figured that out for the first time. Probably not, but that might be the case. There are some things we will not make headway on until we admit they are beyond us and we can only turn them over to God.

But lists are immortal. We can never work them off. If we think we have, we look and find there are new items we just haven’t placed there yet. A list is never gone until we die, and even then, someone else has to take what is left on OUR list and add it to THEIR list.

As we face a New Year I hope you have the right things on your list, meaningful and achievable things, and I hope you make wonderful progress in getting them done. That’s what makes a good year.


Anne Schroeder said...

Terry--good thoughts here. We're on a similar roll. I found my resolution on a YouTube video. "Are you anyone's favorite person?" And I'm going to live 2012 in ways that allow me to be.

Patty Wysong said...

Resolutions just don't work for me either--but lists? They're a life saver! Knowing a big picture idea of what I want to accomplish in the year helps me prioritize and keep the forward momentum going. Resolutions simply anchor me to that failure but a list propels me forward.