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, 32-34 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?
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About Lori Freeland
Lori Freeland, a freelance writer from the Dallas area, holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In her other life, the one BK—before kids—she has worked as a social worker and a certified dyslexic reading tutor. Currently, she embraces her status as full-time homeschool mom to three awesome children. Her big dream? Becoming a Young Adult novelist, a goal she diligently pursues during the wee hours of the morning with help from a very large mug of coffee and occasionally some chocolate-covered peanuts. In addition to blogging and contributing regular inspirational articles to Crosswalk.com, The Christian Pulse, and Believe.com, she loves to mentor new writers and encourage people to share their life stories. As a member of the Cancer Mom club, she desires to connect with others in hopes of giving support to those struggling down the messy paths of life. You can find her hanging with the North Texas Christian Writers as a Critique Group Leader and Writing Coach or cheering on her writers on the Faith Team at The Christian Pulse where she recently took on the role of editor. She also loves to attend Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators meetings where she has begun a critique workshop for new writers. You can visit her website at LAFREELAND.COM.
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