So long 2011

So long 2011

Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 8:04 pm

I used to make the standard New Year’s resolutions every year without fail. Get organized. Lose weight. One year I even organized my New Year’s weight loss plan with a big chart and colorful stickers. It was a banner effort, friends. But by late January, I was combing the house in search of Doritos and wondering where I had put my shoes.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that the minute you decide to lose weight and get organized all of life begins working against you. On the day you plan to organize closets, the Hallmark channel runs an all-day marathon of the Waltons. And everyone knows that John Boy’s first year at Boatwright College is way more interesting than going through boxes of old tax forms and sorting through clothes that are two sizes too small.  
On the evening you plan to prepare a grilled chicken salad, a neighbor brings by a big pan of lasagna to thank you for watching her house and picking up her mail while she was in Boca Raton. Oh no! That’s a tough one, friend. I mean, everybody knows that pasta is quick energy, right? And if you’re actually going to clean out closets and fight that urge to watch the Waltons, you’re definitely gonna need quick energy.  
On the other hand, if you eat the lasagna and it gives you only enough energy to sit on the couch and watch John Boy get his heart broken by the fickle Marsha Wollery, it may have been a failed choice. And in that case, I have a lot of sympathy for you. I, too, have often failed at my resolves.
But failed resolutions in the past have not made me cynical. Not at all. I still believe in new beginnings. I believe in change. But I’ve learned that change doesn’t always mean following a detailed chart or using color-coded stickers. Sometimes it means making gradual shifts. For example, this year, instead of focusing on the weight, I’m resolving to continue working out an hour every day. I feel so much better and I know my health has improved.
Another thing I’ve come to realize is that a lot of my past resolutions revolved around me. That’s painful to admit. My goals revolved around self-improvement because, well, I cared a lot about self. I wanted to improve. I wanted to win at life. Nothing wrong with winning, right? Well, right. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that focusing on self is not always the route to winning.
Maybe there’s a set of resolutions that would be more reflective of my long-term goals. I can’t help but think of the verse in I Peter that talks about putting aside all malice and slander and envy. Now there’s something worth discussing. Laying aside past hurts. Letting go of past offenses. Choosing to speak kindness rather than bitterness. Not easy. Or what about the verses that talk about love? Do I wake up in the morning and ask God to help me love and serve others with sincerity?  
In 2012 , I do want to organize my life and eat more leafy greens. But I’m also shooting for something higher. Join me in making 2012 the best year yet.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website,

Published in The Messenger 1.4.12


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