Resolutions are not all that different from commandments. Self-commandments to be sure, but commandments nonetheless. Usually, after some time to reflect on how the past year is gone, we determine (or resolve) to do certain things differently in the following year. And so we command ourselves by resolving to do things differently.
There is a certain potential for legalism, but I don’t think that should deter anyone from taking a good look at their life and making adjustments to their modus operandi (or M.O. if you will) from time to time. The gospel reminds you that you’re not earning God’s favor by doing better and trying harder.
All of this is helpful to keep in mind as you make resolutions. It is also helpful to remember that like commandments, resolutions are usually abstractions. By abstractions I mean, they don’t specify a concrete course of action. “Love your neighbor” is abstract. “Use free time on your day off to help a friend do something you normally hate” is concrete (though it could be more so). And if done with the right heart, it may be a concrete expression of “loving your neighbor.”
I say all this as a setup for for my list, which as it stands, is just a bunch of abstractions:
- Be more thankful
- Pray more
- Spend less $$ on books
- Sharpen up my Greek and Hebrew
- Read differently
- Spend less time online (or spend wiser time online)
- Write more original content (and possibly a book)
- Start a family (or more accurately, get some affairs in order to start trying)
- Lead Ali better at home
- Be more relational
- Disciple more
- Get in musical shape and learn more songs
- Get in physical shape and lose some weight
“Pray more” is not a specific course of action, nor does it specify a desired result. The same goes for “Read differently” (whatever that means) and “be more relational,” as well as most of the items on here. Looking at this list, you should see I’m aiming more at new habits rather than results (“Lose some weight” is close, but I have no desired weight to attain, I just want less fat in my torso). This results in it being more abstract, but fear not. In a future post, I’ll add some specificity. And by that I mean I’ll make it more concrete. And by that I mean, I tell what my specific course of action will be for each of these items.
But we’ll get to that next year. And by that I mean tomorrow.