Setting resolutions and goals this time of year has become a joke. There are untold millions who determine to lose weight, quit smoking, get out of debt, find a new job, work on their relationships or any other number of things only to find themselves after the first few weeks of the new year breaking those resolutions. We have become so used to failing that we have given up trying to improve ourselves in significant ways.
We have become too cynical of a nation that believes two things
1) People never really change
2) We, personally, don’t need to change anything about ourselves.
But, when we live with no goals or goals that are too easily attainable then we are short changing ourselves on fulfillment and growth. The old saying is that you are either growing or dying but you can’t be stagnant. I think many of us start to feel ourselves dying on the inside and have a quick fix to make ourselves feel alive temporarily but don’t really resolve the root of the problem. We try to numb the sense of dying with things like food, sex, work, sports, drugs, alcohol, porn or some other external thing to cover our pain and emptiness on the inside.
The reality of my life and yours is that we need goals that are outside of our current abilities to attain. We need the challenge of overcoming fears, doubts and even our immaturity. Life is too short to be shackled by fear and to be a slave to insecurity. The enemy of our souls shouts to us “You are incapable” but God tells us “we are more than conquerors”.
When we stop setting goals for ourselves then we have resigned ourselves to dying and death. I’ve been around a lot of death the past few years. Funerals are a place where people celebrate a life well lived. Memories are shared, tears are shed and comfort is given. It’s a time to refect but it’s not a time anyone looks forward to.
But, I’ve also been to a lot of weddings and the atmosphere of celebration and excitement over the future is contagious. The hopes of what the future holds, starting a new life, beating the odds and living a long life together fill everyone with hope and remind us of our own vows. There is always lots of hugs, smiles, laughter, dancing and kisses. It’s hard to walk away from a wedding not feeling like you could tweak your own relationship with your significant other.
People are drawn to life and people filled with it. People who are becoming fully alive are an anomaly in a world where darkness, cynicism and fear rule. But, the way we continue in the journey of becoming alive is through goals and resolutions. It takes a stick to it’ness attitude that is rare to see and because it’s rare to see it’s easy to justify just giving up. But, when we push through the our doubts and learn from our failures then we can continue to grow and experience life, purpose, confidence, peace and joy.
Two important things:
1) We can’t do it on our own. Accountability is painful because it points our our deficeincies. But, it’s through accountability that we are forced to do things right and not cut corners. There’s no room to “cheat” or even to quit too soon.
2) Give yourself grace. We will never be perfect until the day we die (and even then there’s some debate). We will fail and might not fulfill all of our resolutions but by setting goals then we are choosing life over death.