I think it was last year when I had lunch with two friends and "resolutions" were brought up. I brought up my usual disdain for this time of year, since it seemed so dishonest and self-destructive in a way. I had always watched people make unachievable resolutions and then get angry when they realized they couldn't reach their goal, or I'd see people decide to start the year off right by not committing a crime*. Hence my bleak outlook on resolutions. (*After writing this, I realize my parents should have given me money instead of allowing me to work with the people I did....)
Anyway, they brought up how the first of the year isn't necessarily about striving to completely makeover your life, but instead about reviewing the previous year and finding ways to improve what is improvable. Those that make such unattainable goals were trying to speed up a process that should be taken slowly, which is why they often fail. And for those who start the year off by not committing a crime...well, they're not really understanding the point, either (although, not committing crimes is good!). The point, I believe, is to search your heart and prayerfully enter the new year with achievable goals that will make you a better Christian, parent, spouse, friend, etc. It's about having your priorities in order and striving to be better because you aren't yet. And you may never be "your best," but the first of the new year is a good time to evaluate and act.
I made a private, simple resolution, or goal, this time last year. I hadn't made a resolution (other than the "I'm going to lose weight" one that never really sticks) in years, but decided I would try it and see how it went. My goal was to use the outline for prayer that Jesus gave us in Matthew 6:9-13 and pray at least once a week. I've struggled with prayer for a long time, not understanding how it works, or what God does with it, but I needed to try this. And I am happy to report that did. Unfortunately, I don't have an answer to any of the questions I had when I started, but I can tell you my anxious heart had a lot more peace this year. And honestly, that's worth more to me than answers that don't really matter in the grand scheme of things.
Since I was able to stick to a resolution this year, I decided to be a bit more adventurous for 2012 and have more than one goal. Here's the list I've come up with:
read the Bible through
finish projects I start (I am SO bad about this! Hopefully our wedding book (over 3 yrs ago) and Aiden's baby book (he's 15 months) will be done this time next year!!!!)
Read at least two chapters from a book per day
Read at least 24 books (list to come later this week)
Be in bed by 9pm 5x a week
Wake up by 7:30 5x a week
Exercise at least 30 min per day 5x a week
Not have the tv on while Aiden is awake, except for the Today show and Nightly News with Brian Williams
Do daily chores (I'll write more about this soon)
Budget budget budget (more on this later, too)
In order to help with accountability, I plan on blogging about how I'm doing with these goals from time to time (this is my online journal, after all).
Good luck to you all with your goals for this year. Have a safe and blessed 2012!