Giving up on New Years' resolutions is common because most people don’t understand the purposes of New Year's resolutions! Many believe resolutions are made once and then lived perfectly thereafter. That is a formula for failure if I’ve ever heard one! A resolution is to resolve to do something then go at it with all our energy, recognizing we are apprentices and not the master. Apprentices are expected to have setbacks but as they continue trying eventually they master what they resolved to do.
C.S. Lewis understood this principle concerning continual effort versus continual success. “We may, indeed, be sure that perfect… charity will not be attained by any merely human efforts. You must ask for God's help. Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given. Never mind. After each failure… pick yourself up, and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always trying again. For however important chastity or courage, or truthfulness, or any other virtue may be, this process trains us in habits of the soul which are more important still. It cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God. We learn, on the one hand, that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments and, on the other that we need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven. The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection.” (Mere Christianity p.101-102)
At the beginning of every year among my resolutions is one I re-make. I don’t get discouraged because I’ve been re-making it every year. After all I’m an apprentice with the goal of becoming a master, knowing I have a long way to mastery. I always start by reading my favorite motivational story that reminds me of my ultimate goal. See if it motivates you as much as it does me . . .
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This article is sponsored by Fun For Less.