What should our resolutions include?

Copyright 2013 James DeMers via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain.

Copyright 2013 James DeMers via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain.

“A resolution is simply another attempt to solve a problem. It’s approaching something in a new light or from a different angle. If your new solution doesn’t work, all you have to do is re-solve it again. It’s not failure; it’s the need for another attempt, another solution.”

How many of us made New Year’s resolutions for 2016? What types of resolutions do you think are the most common? As a curiosity, did you make the same resolutions last year and perhaps the year before? I read an interesting report regarding the top ten New Year’s resolutions that people usually make each year. To answer the question what are the most common resolutions, I am listing them below. Number one on the list is to “lose weight.” With the number of options to help people lose weight through commercials for Nutri/System and Weight Watchers and encouraging people towards gym memberships, this should come as no surprise to anyone.

The rest of the list did surprise me a little:
2) Get organized.
3) Spend less and save more.
4) Enjoy life to the fullest.
5) Stay fit and healthy.
6) Learn something exciting.
7) Quit smoking.
8) Help others in their dreams.
9) Fall in love.
10) Spend more time with family.

Do any of these resolutions match ones that you came up with? I will be the first to say my list includes “losing weight” every year. There have been a few times when I’ve actually done it. After a couple of months into the year I ignore my resolution. I wonder if we would make changes to our list that would include a different approach to what is important going forward in the year ahead, what would our top ten resolutions look like then? Here is an example of what our list could look like:

1) Pray more.
2) Go to Mass twice a week.
3) Show kindness daily to those we meet; try not to argue or fight.
4) Do something special with your family every week.
5) Love everyone as much as you can.
6) Donate your time to a great cause.
7) Tell your spouse and children that you love them often.
8) Extend a handshake or a hug to people you see on a regular basis.
9) Help someone that you know needs it.
10) Give financially to a good cause even if it stretches you a little bit.

Wow! This is a different New Year’s Resolution list. When I review the list that is considered most common, it seems a little bit self-absorbed by comparison.

“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.”
Jonathan Edwards

In reality, though, I think we could achieve many of those resolutions that were made in the first list if we actually did some or all of the ones in the second list. As an example, “live life to the fullest” or “stay fit and healthy” or “help others with their dreams” or “spending more time with family.” All of these can be achieved if we give of ourselves more and reach out to others. What is the reason that we make resolutions in the first place? I think the answer to that question is that we want to make a few changes in our lives to make us better people. Being less worried about how we look and whether we have money and whether we will fall in love; it seems to me that we would be happier if we extended ourselves a little bit more to others and were less worried about what wasn’t important.

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every New Year find you a better man.”
Benjamin Franklin

There is something very appealing about the start of a new year. It offers a clean slate. It almost feels like going to confession. Improving your relationship with God and giving of ourselves more is the perfect resolution going into any new year.

Make your own individual list. If you are happy with making good changes for yourself going forward, then having resolutions can be very positive.

Copyright 2016 Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh


About Author

Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh (Cathy) completed her education in Special Education and English and now works as an Agent in the Insurance Industry. A mother and Grandmother, Cathy grew up in a large Catholic family and has spent the last 30 years as a caregiver for her husband, Jack. She is a cancer survivor which inspired her to begin writing six years ago.

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