Every year about this time fitness clubs swell with new members. Armed with New Yearâ€™s resolutions, people sign expensive contracts and buy new athletic gear in sincere attempts to lose weight or gain muscle as they try to improve their physical appearance. I respect their efforts and try to take them seriously, happily sharing the cardio equipment, free weights and yoga balls that I usually have mostly to myself. Experience has taught me that by the end of the month most of these new members will be but infrequent guests here. Iâ€™ve observed this phenomenon every year without fail for the past twelve years. I donâ€™t know how well they keep their other resolutions, but there seem to be many people who cannot keep their New Yearâ€™s resolutions to exercise regularly.
I’m not sure that we follow through on our New Yearâ€™s resolutions, or others of our goals any better than those who join fitness centers in January seem to follow through on theirs, but Latter-day Saints do tend to be goal-oriented people. We have been taught to lengthen our stride and to be anxiously engaged in good causes. We are counseled to become self-sufficient and to be diligent in all things, pressing along with our shoulders to the wheel. In fact, the scriptures indicate that we should even strive for perfection. Since perfection is a long way off for most of us, setting and achieving goals is a way to measure our progress. Goal-setting might involve serious reflection, public commitments and careful record-keeping. For others, goal-setting may be a less formal re-commitment to continue good practices already begun.
How do you make your goals?
It seems likely that many Latter-day Saints would include things like daily prayer and scripture study, monthly temple attendance, weekly family home evening and so forth on their lists. Are they on your lists? Perhaps we donâ€™t include these things as New Yearâ€™s resolutions because we have already turned them into habits of behavior. But, if these practices havenâ€™t become habitual, does resolving to accomplish them at the beginning of a new year make a difference? If so, how do you account for the difference?
What is it about a â€œnew yearâ€? that has the power to get us to change our thinking about something, to commit to change and improve? If the dawning of a new year has this sort of power for you, how does it differ from the fresh start that is possible after taking the Sacrament, for example?