A Resolute New Year

I knew it was probably a bad sign that as of Jan. 3rd, I still hadn’t made the time to make New Year’s resolutions.

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I love planning (a little too much) and I love making goals (a little too often) but when it comes to carrying plans and goals through, I tend to slack off. A lot.

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I  realized that I tend to make too many resolutions. Suddenly, I have a list of 23 improvements that I want to make in the new year, and none of them are small tasks. I get tired of trying to conquer all of them, or even five of them, at one time. And then I do none of them. And go on Pinterest. And check Facebook. And go back on Pinterest. And aimlessly wander around my house, too bored of relaxing. Welcome to my typical life as a college student on break.

But, on January 3rd, I am changing that. Notice I didn’t say, “I will change that.” Clearly making goals isn’t my problem. I am making too many goals, and not following through with any of them. Instead of goals however, I am making a resolution.

The definition of resolute is:

“Firm or determined, unwavering”

“Firm in purpose or belief, steadfast”

I will not make specific resolutions, I will confine the burden and necessity of specificity to goals. My 2014 resolution is different, and there is only one.

In my free time [outside of work, school, friends, and other obligations], I resolve to create and cultivate more than I consume. I’ve been noticing that most of my down time is spent consuming other people’s creations: Facebook, Pinterest, Netflix, etc. Instead, I want to learn more skills, acquire more knowledge of non-school related topics, do more. I don’t want to be influenced by society, but rather I want to influence society. I desire to become a better, stronger me.

When I selfishly hoard the time (that doesn’t even belong to me) in my day to fill it completely up with aimless activities (aka watching all six seasons of Psych) I find that it is a lot harder to love and give myself to others. However, the other day, I spent ten minutes in my room at college because I decided I wanted to learn guitar. And as a result of that ten minute crash course of “The Book of Love” on guitar, I got to run out to perform for my ever so patient and adoring fans friends. I was able to bring other people into my life, because I had something to invite them into, something that I created, no matter how bad it really was. (But really, it wasn’t…)

*I won’t relegate reading to an activity of consumption, because while it technically is, there are so many benefits that it also an act of cultivation. Feel free to fight me on this. I’ll give you fair warning: I’m an English major. I’ll likely not change my opinion on that so easily.

I have other daily, weekly, and monthly goals in life, but this is my resolution. My firm, unwavering, steadfast conviction:

I will create more than I consume.

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A Liberating Choice

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It is New Year’s Eve, so I figured that a post about resolutions would be appropriate. And besides, if you haven’t already picked up on it, I like goals. I think that they are a wonderful way to accomplish the things you want in life. They can keep you from spending time needlessly doing things that you really don’t plan on doing. I mean honestly, did I really want to spend an entire hour on Facebook when I had just gotten on the internet to check my e-mail?

Although, on the other end of the spectrum, I don’t want to make so many goals that it becomes all I focus on.

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I don’t want to be like this kid…

We have to be careful about how we use goals. It’s a warning sign if you’re making goals because you think you are not enough – not popular enough, not successful enough. That is not the point of them. The point is liberation. Practical life goals, like starting to invest or signing up for that photography class you’ve always wanted are meant to be freeing. The purpose of our goals should be to give us more freedom, not to weigh us down. Having a schedule that you stick to rigidly leaves no room for an unexpected conversation with a friend, helping out a stranger, or a well-deserved bubble bath. Goals are good, but if we forget our primary vocation: to love – love God and love others – they mean nothing.

Don’t get too excited. I’m not saying that we should just throw schedules out the windows.

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Scheduling and making goals in the right way will give you freedom to love others and also allow you to relax and be refreshed. We don’t need to “plan” the spontaneous fun out of life. But for myself, I need a set time to go work out or spend time in Adoration or else I won’t do it. We are able to acquire virtues like generosity or temperance by making them a habit. You could also consciously strive to acquire humility as well, but if you’re like me, tripping over your own feet suffices quite well and quite often…

As I had mentioned in my previous post about the connection of being a person of action and happiness, I happened to find a great quote from Benjamin Disraeli:

“Action may not always bring happiness;

but there is no happiness without action.”

So, if you are excited about the new year and are writing out the goals you want to accomplish, I have heard and read a lot of advice about making goals, and here are a few ideas that I have found the most helpful. 1.) Prayer is an important step to discerning what goals are worth working towards. 2.) The purpose of goals are not to one-up other people or compete with your personal view of their success. 3.) Look for making resolutions that don’t lose importance to you with the absence of other people. 4.) Do a regular review of your goal progress. I’ve found that it is equally as important as making a plan for your resolution. I have a tendency to work towards my goal but not review them and then realize that 3 months went by without any significant progress.

Today, New Year’s Eve, is a day to prepare for new beginnings. With that comes memories of the year before, the new friends we’ve met, the embarrassing stories we add to the list of never mentioning again, and the excitement of a new semester (minus the pain of paying for new books…)

Have a fun New Year’s Eve!

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Maybe I’ll make a New Year’s resolution to become more crafty! Here is my first step: Making centerpieces for a New Year’s Eve engagement party my sisters and I are hosting for a good friend. Wine bottles, to be filled with sprigs of glittery crafty-ness, accompanied by wine glass candle holders. Surprisingly easy!