By Jeremy Reynalds, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO
Joy Junction Inc.
They include getting teeth replaced and spending more time with kids.
With Thanksgiving, Christmas and now even the new year behind us, are you still thinking about new year’s resolutions?
You know, stuff like resolving to be a better person, changing jobs, quitting smoking, eating less and exercising more, or some other personal goal you hope to achieve in the upcoming year. While we all know that usually these well-intentioned resolutions don’t last past the first few days of January, we keep on making them all the same.
It’s no secret that intending to eat less and exercise more are probably two of the most popular resolutions. Sometimes the resolve to exercise more is motivated by a well-meaning relative or friend giving a gym membership, or perhaps a gift of a half dozen lessons with a trainer.
I was talking some time ago with people at a gym about how the first two or three weeks of January are always bustling with new members, and then as the month wears on the number of “newbies” plummets.
And as that resolution to exercise more falls by the wayside, many times so do those lessons with the trainer. The new year quickly turns into just another year, with all those good intentions put off till next year.
I wondered what our guests at Joy Junction thought about resolutions, so we asked a few whether they make resolutions and stick by them. We also asked them if they didn’t make new year resolutions, to explain why not?
Andrew said he doesn’t make resolutions, and that for a very good reason.
He said, “The way I was raised, resolutions take away faith from believing in God and trying to control what God already has planned for me. It might sound a little extreme, but I have found out that when I try to change His will for me by setting my own path it usually does not turn out very well.”
A woman we spoke to said she used to make resolutions out of tradition. But that’s all changed.
She said, “I do not like saying empty promises for the sake of the new year’s tradition. After many trials I am just going to take it one day at a time and do it better than yesterday, and that’s all I can do.”
However, another guest, Laverne, was willing to make resolutions. She said she wants to stick to her sobriety, and continue to read the Bible so she can keep on taking God’s Word in her heart.
She said, “I want this coming new year to be the best year I ever had. To stick to being sober and continue with it all through my life.”
David had a great resolution. He wants to remain committed to the Lord and grow stronger in his faith, so he can become the sort of person God wants him to be.
He said, “I want to leave that old person behind and move on, because I am not that old person anymore.”
Sergio had a number of workable goals. They began by actively maintaining his strong Christian faith. After that he wants to find a better job with more hours.
A little more jogging was next on the list, then “(I want to) keep helping as a volunteer at Joy Junction. Fifth and last is to spend more time (double) with my kids, and find me my own house and marry my girlfriend. In Jesus’s name.”
Kathryn has some ambitious goals, beginning with saving money to get her own house, “So that I do not have to pay storage any more.”
She also wants to get her teeth replaced, get a physical “and get a new inner tube for my bike.”
There was more. “After that go to school to get my masters in public speaking, and get creative (which is my favorite occupation), and get me a dog for company.”
Cassandra said, “My resolution is to change everything in my life that has put me down the wrong path and get back on the right path.”
Edith said her resolution was to finish the Joy Junction Christ in Power life recovery program.
She was successful, saying “I could not have made it through without God. I made it … Joy Junction saved my life from the streets.”
So resolutions or not? With resolutions mostly unsuccessful, I was wondering how (and why) we came up with the concept. With that in mind, I did a little online research about new year’s resolutions and found that the tradition dates back over four thousand years to the time of the early Babylonians.
Apparently the most popular resolution back then for the Babylonians was to return borrowed farm equipment. To correspond with the spring planting of their crops, the Babylonians celebrated in March rather than in January.
As we head down the path of 2017 and many of those whose resolutions you just read continue to walk recovery road, will you please say a prayer for their continued success? Their resolutions are profound and thoughtful. How do ours stack up with theirs?
And if you’re thinking that there’s no way you’re going to make a new year’s resolution, how about this one?
“I resolve to be kind and (when I can), generous to the homeless. I will make eye contact, perhaps shake a hand and without judging, help those who say they’re hungry.”
Are you in? Maybe even print this out and put it on the visor in your car. Let me know what you think.