Okay, I’ll be honest.

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions this year. No diet fads. No exercise plans. No financial agenda. No major list of life changes.

My resolutions have a way of beginning on a rampage and ending on a bout of realism that often shoves me farther behind than where I began. I get derailed. Quickly. My track record for any given resolution, in any given January, hovers around an hour to a week. Exercise being the first thing to go. I blame that on my self-diagnosed ADD.

Maybe I’m the only person who can’t seem to power through the potential to change my life. Or maybe not. Maybe I’m one of many.

This year, rather than failing before I begin, I decided to try something different. This year, I’ve moved on to promises. And I’ve made a few, to myself, and to other people.

According to dictionary.com, a resolution is, “a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something” while a promise is, “a declaration that something will or will not be done, given, etc.”

That’s a big difference. One says I will try. The other says I will do.

With my promise, I’ve declared that I will do what I’ve said. Whatever it takes.

Like Yoda says: “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

Resolutions gather around try. Promises project into do.

I like that.

So what are my promises?

I made a promise to spend more time with my family. Time spent in both quantity and quality. Time spent before everything I think needs to be done actually gets done. I’ve promised to use the pause button on my life and push it often.

For our anniversary, I bought twelve cards and put them in a basket in order of months, and presented them to my husband. A year of guaranteed dates. Dinners, movies, adventures. All pre-purchased. Pre-paid. A promise of time as a couple.

My children are a little harder to please. While dangling the date carrot works for my guy, my kids want me in the now. They aren’t appeased by a future promise of time. They need me to drop-everything-and-listen. In the moment.

I’m still working that out. Some projects are more difficult to drop than others.

But, I’m aware of the need to make time. Being aware is a start. This year I promise my kids to make moments. Make memories. Make minutes stamped with “I care” and “you’re important.”

Last, I’ve promised myself to slow down. Set boundaries. And focus on what’s important to me after my family and my friends. 

My dreams often conflict with the time I’ve promised my husband and my kids. I think that’s true with jobs and hobbies and lifestyles we chase. Then life comes down to priorities.

My final promise to myself and to the people in my life is that I will let God set my priorities. I see them now as God, my family, my friends, and my work. If I get that right, everything else will fall into place.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?...For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:25-34 NIV).

Now that many of us have fallen from the Resolution Wagon, would consider making a promise instead? A promise you not only intend to keep but a promise that you will keep?

What are your promises in this new year?