I had resolved to write this post weeks ago, and it's now January 23. Does this give you any indication as to the success I'm experiencing so far in my New Year's resolutions? I think I've finally realized why we meet each New Year with so much renewed energy about personal change. It's because we're on VACATION when we think about the New Year. We're swimming in more time, we're getting a little more sleep, and life generally feels a bit more manageable when we're not schlepping the kids off to school or ourselves off to work. Heck yeah, I'll exercise when I'm not required to be out of my pajamas before 10 a.m.
Three weeks into January, when life's normally relentless pace has resumed, we're back to our old habits and flagging faith, feeling less like the world is ours for the conquering.
I have had a little of that experience so far this year with my own New Year's resolutions. THIS was going to be the year I was going to be more organized. I would work harder to put things away (and keep the kids accountable, too). I would keep a less messy desk. I would empty out my purse and wallet every night. I would write outlines. I would prioritize my to-dos.
And I am mostly failing every one of those resolutions, with the exception that yesterday I wrote a detailed outline for chapter three of my book and sailed through an afternoon of writing, finishing, if you can believe it, a first draft of the entire chapter! (Oh, have I forgotten to mention that a friend and I have tucked ourselves away in a cabin in Ontario's cottage country for a three-day writing retreat? The outline may not deserve all the credit for this accomplishment.)
Resolutions can be unsuccessful, often because we don't think realistically about the ways we'll have to shift other parts of our lives to accommodate the new activities/ideas we want to pursue.
Resolutions are also unsuccessful because we are pursuing goals that we're not totally committed to. Maybe intellectually we think the proposed change would be good for us, but deep in our gut, we still have a lot of inner reluctance toward making the change. If we were to poll our inner self, we'd have to admit: we really don't want to change.
Desire is a KEY part of personal change, and I've been reading a lot on the subject considering that my book manuscript tackles questions of our wanting and praying.
I think there's a lot of momentum behind desire, and I think intentionality can be born of desire.
Ask yourself this: when was the last time I had trouble committing to something I REALLY wanted to do?
I, for example, have very little trouble making sure I find an hour every week to watch Downton Abbey. Actually no trouble whatsoever.
But exercise? Eeek.
It's been months, maybe years, that I've not exercised regularly, and that neglect has been a source of spiritual uneasiness. But this year, I'm back at it although for different reasons.
I've written about this at Christianity Today's blog for women, her.meneutics, and you can find that article here: Being Skinny is Not a Christian Virtue
(P.S. There's almost no better way to stick to your resolutions than to announce PUBLICLY what you've committed to. FYI.)