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New Year, New You, If Only: Reflections On Old Resolutions

January 2nd, 2012 | 2 min read

By Cate MacDonald

Does anyone actually believe in the power of New Year’s resolutions? Sometimes I think they are simply a reminder of how much we desire change, and, given our propensity for resolving the same thing over and over, how terribly bad at it we are. Since my resolutions are not much different then they were on New Year’s Eve 2009, I’m reposting my reflections from then, because despite my continued failures, I know I still believe in hope and our ability to choose a better life.

New Year’s day has come and gone and with it a culture wide battery of resolutions. This is the year we will all be thinner, watch less TV, learn a new skill, read that one book everyone is talking about, go on more dates, give up on dating, cook for ourselves, or spend less.

If you’re anything like me, the hope of the new you that seemed so promising on January 1st is already looking a lot like the you that celebrated December 31st. And we're only a day in. Pathetic. If only actual growth was as easy as resolving to change.

I was wavering with the direction I would take this post, wondering if I should encourage contentment and self-acceptance or remind you to hope and work towards what you want your life, heart, and mind to be. I was undecided until I finished a Harry Potter book this weekend. An unusual source of inspiration for me [ed. Note: ok, so this has changed in two years. I am nothing if not constantly inspired by Harry Potter], I was struck by the wisdom that crept from a children’s story. There is a moment at the end of the second book where Harry is worried that he was meant for evil, that his talents and tendencies will betray him and he will sink into the power of the Dark Side (or whatever they call it. I get my modern mythologies confused). Anyways, wise Professor Dumbledore tells him that it is not his talents but his choices that determine what he will be and what impact he will have on his world.

So that’s what I want to leave you with, as we enter January, especially for those who are feeling frustrated by past resolutions undone. You are always free to make the next right choice, no matter who you have been, no matter how strong your unhealthy habits are. After all, making good choices is merely a physical manifestation of the biblical priority of seeking Wisdom and following Him where He leads. And there’s a reason redemption is part of all the most important stories.

So here’s to you and your next step. May it be a good one.