Five Reasons Not to Make a New Year's Resolution
As the calendar flipped to 2022, I asked myself what resolutions I want to make, but the fact is that I'm too busy making plans to make resolutions. This time next week, I'll be driving to Salt Lake for a month of training as a flight attendant.
I know. It's a crazy time to become a flight attendant. During my job interview, I even made a joke about using duct tape on passengers. But I do love working for the airlines (not to mention the perks of travel), and ever since I became a gate agent, I've been saying I'd take this step once all my kids were out of the house. Welp. I'm an empty-nester.
My kids have all graduated, but that's not the only change I've been through recently. Last year I beat breast cancer then this year my dream of having my book Finding Love in Big Sky made into a movie came true. So I've been in this "Now what?" phase of life.
Why am I still here?
What new goals do I have?
If I have the freedom to do anything, what do I want to do?
I pondered this for a while then Jim and I began making all kinds of plans. We're downsizing to move into a new home. Jim is working on starting a business. I'm going to try out a weight loss program called Optavia since my body is not the same as it was before cancer, and I don't like it. I'm joining Bible Girls to read the Bible in a year. I'm having surgery on one ear so I can hear what people say even when they are wearing masks. We are getting passports to ride the Harley to Banff in Canada. There's a writing conference in St. Louis and a book-signing in Michigan. I was given a resort stay in Mexico. And Jim thinks we should celebrate next New Year's in Nashville.
I've also been offered a two-book contract that I wish I could tell you about, but since I haven't signed it yet, that would be kind of like when Tony Stark announced he's Iron Man--it's frowned upon.
I'm looking forward to all these new adventures, but I'm calling them plans instead of resolutions for a few reasons...
1.) I can't rely on will power. I need accountability. I need deadlines. I need small steps to take so a goal doesn't become overwhelming and I'm tempted to give up.
2.) I'm focusing on what I have the power to do. Having my dream of getting a book made into a movie was something I could work toward, but it's not something I could do myself. There are better books than mine that haven't been made into movies, and that's no reflection of the authors--them or me. Dreams are bigger than what we can do on our own. They are out of our hands. So I keep dreaming, but I make plans for me.
3.) I believe failure is part of success. If I train for a marathon but don't get to run it for whatever reason, I'm still healthier for having trained. I made progress. I failed forward. I'm one step closer to my goal.
4.) Plans are flexible. They are based on what is best at the time. For example, if I have plans to go out to dinner then it snows and the roads are dangerous, I am better off if I stay home. I didn't fail my dinner plans. I changed them as needed.
5.) God has better plans. I try to connect with Him every morning and write a to-do list in my prayer journal, but, even with the best of intentions, sometimes my plans are way off. I can easily be swayed by fear or pride or laziness, and just turning one degree leads me away from where I'm supposed to be headed.
I don't know why I'm still here, but I'm excited to find out. So while I wasn't planning to either make resolutions OR to have a word for the new year, there's a word that stood out to me in scripture this week, and I decided to claim it.
Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. -Ephesians 2:4-5
I'm alive. I've been saved in multiple ways. So though I don't always get it right, I'm grateful for this chance to try.
The cool thing about life is that whether I get it right or wrong, whether I succeed or fail, God can use it all. So let's not waste this year. Let's plan to live.
What are your plans for 2022?