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January 2011 Archives

January 1, 2011

Resolutions - then and now

How many of you do the whole New Year's resolutions thing? I know a girl who resolved to only drink sodas three times this year and by January 2nd she had already used up two. I'm gonna guess #3 was over and done by the 3rd. Statistically I wonder how many resolutions ever actually work out. Like how many of us actually stick to any of them to the degree that they change our lives for the better? I've been reading a book that compares the diaries of girls from the 1800s to the diaries of girls from the 1990s and the differences are pretty huge...and sad. We've gone from being concerned about the state of our souls and our character to caring mostly about how we look on the outside. Here's an excerpt from 1892 followed by one from 1982 so you can see what I'm talking about:

"Resolved, not to talk about myself or feelings. To think before speaking. To work seriously. To be self restrained in conversation and actions. Not to let my thoughts wander. To be dignified. Interest myself more in others."

and just 90 years later:

"I will try to make myself better in any way I possibly can with the help of my budget and baby-sitting money. I will lose weight, get new lenses, already got new haircut, good makeup, new clothes and accessories."

In less than a century it seems we have become so focused on ourselves that becoming a better person means simply looking different, not actually BEING a better person. There are a lot of factors that brought us from one mindset to where we are today, but what I really want to know is where do you fall on the scale? If the more Victorian idea of focusing on character development and others more than self is a 1, and the modern mindset of me, me, me, and more me is a 10, where would you rank yourself? What were your resolutions this year, if you had any, and what do they tell you about yourself?

I stopped doing resolutions several years ago because I realized they never really did me any good. Instead I pray each year that by the end of the year (if I make it all the way through) I know and love God more than I did at the beginning. How about you guys? What have you resolved to do or not do? And if you follow through on it, does it actually make you a better person from the inside out?