I turn on my bedside lamp and pause with pen poised above the blank journal page. What will be my New Year’s Resolutions this year? Every year, these journal entries are my favorite – an end of the year review and a look at my past resolutions, as well as an excited look forward to the new year and what I hope to accomplish in it.
I know that many people scorn New Year’s resolutions as useless or overdone, but there’s something in me that can’t help but make a list for the New Year – of all the things that I’m hoping and dreaming of accomplishing. The start of something fresh and new always seems to call for a dedication of sorts, and I love stepping into the next year with fresh determination and goals in mind.
But as I look at some of the resolutions of those who have gone before me – namely Jonathan Edwards – I feel that myne in retrospect are rather tame and pitiful. Can my goal of finishing a scrapbook this year really compare to Resolution #67 of Mr. Edwards: “Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire,what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them”?
Or should something so secondary as wanting to visit friends and family this year be on par with a resolution such as “Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death”?
Perhaps my list should be labeled something more akin to “goals I want to accomplish this year” rather than a list of “resolutions” … although I believe taking some of Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions and making them my own would not be such a bad idea. I have come to the conclusion, however, that while I do love making “resolutions” at the fall of the New Year, I am continuously making goals and resolutions throughout the year – big or small – keeping a list of them in my head, mostly, and making little changes throughout my days. This is probably the best way to handle resolutions – to make them as you think on them throughout the year, and follow through with them thereafter, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with making a fresh list at the start of another year.
Then again, my personality is so very list-oriented and goal-oriented, that I probably couldn’t live properly without some sort of ambition in front of me at all times! I do love feeling like I’ve accomplished something, and I love even more checking things off my list.
Therefore: whether big goals or little ones, significant or non, I shall remember the preface to Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions, and claim it as my own – “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to His will for Christ’s sake.”
Have a blessed and happy New Year everyone!