It is now officially 2014 in my time zone, so I wanted to suggest something.
Don’t make a New Year’s Resolution. Don’t set goals to lose weight, or learn a language, or learn an instrument, or take more pictures, or do your homework earlier. Don’t get yourself psyched up, geared up, or excited about a new year of potential.
You sabotage yourself every time you do this. So don’t.
Instead, spend some time reflecting on your life goals. Where do you want to be in five years? In ten? In twenty? What do you really want to do with your life? These questions might be terrifying at first, or at least confusing, but give yourself permission to think outside the box a bit. Your goal might not be what you expect, and it may not be on the types of checklists you’ve seen before.
When I was nine years old, I set myself the goal of having a family. I wanted a family that loved each other and didn’t fight. I wanted kids who were provided for and protected and taken care of. And everything in my life since that night has been in pursuit of that goal. It is open-ended and long-term, and pursuing it has dozens of sub-tasks. I need to manage my budget well. I need to work hard at my job. I need to complete my education. I need to stay healthy so I can provide and protect and live long enough to see my kids grow up. I need to learn things like theology and philosophy and literature and science so I can be helpful to my kids.
I need a job that means my family doesn’t have to worry about food or clothes or a place to live. I need to be a good husband and a good father. I need to be the type of man who can earn the love of a good woman and who can raise up good and well-educated and hard-working children. To accomplish all this, I have to dedicate my entire life to becoming better, not with just one aspect of my life at a time or in a year’s span, but constantly and consistently and for as long as I can.
This year, don’t make a short-term resolution. Your life is already going–it doesn’t start over on January 1, and it doesn’t end on December 31 with a brief pause to add up the score and see how you did. It keeps going, so set a goal and move towards it. Improve continuously.
In our culture, people make resolutions as temporary and discardable things. Your life is worth more than that, though, and every moment you spend not working towards what you want in life is a moment wasted. You deserve better, so take some time this season to reflect on your life and legacy and what you want it to be.