So, how are those New Year’s resolutions coming along? If you still haven’t broken them, you are among an elite group – congratulations!
However, if you are like the great majority of resolution makers and have not remained true to your original intentions, then you are in good company – congratulations!
I love New Year’s resolutions. Before you start grumbling, perhaps I ought to be a bit more clear – I love the idea of New Year’s resolutions, I love making New Year’s resolutions, but I am much less than enthusiastic about keeping them.
New Year’s resolutions can make a person believe that anything is possible, that the glass is perpetually half full and that the future is bright.
New Year’s resolutions are full of hope and optimism, they instill confidence and cheer, can be inspirational and encouraging and are generally just good for one’s soul.
It is reassuring to think that at the beginning of each new calendar year, we might make a practice of resolving to make the world and our place in it a better place. It kind of renews one’s faith in humankind, doesn’t it?
But I suspect that the same thing that makes New Year’s resolutions so fun and satisfying is the same thing that makes them so fragile.
Buoyed up by an over-extended optimism that the coming year will be substantially better than the one just ended, we aim much too high. Our hope exceeds our resolve, our wishing exceeds our willpower.
It is for that reason that many people refuse to make New Year’s resolutions (or resolve not to make any resolutions). These people say that they are only being realistic, that they’ve seen the familiar pattern of hopes raised and hopes dashed and do not wish to participate in such futile and frustrating speculative exercise. Given the statistics, it’s hard to argue with their decision.
But what if we took it a little easier on ourselves, toned it down a bit and adjusted our expectations? What if we stopped calling them “resolutions” (that word can be so ominous and intimidating) and instead called them “tweaks”. New Year’s tweaks doesn’t have as nice a sound in our ear but it might be just the thing that speaks to our heart.
When a car is running fine, but it’s performance could use a bit of improvement, we tweak it. When our computer is doing it’s job but is running slower than we would like, we tweak it. Tweaking is about making small adjustments to a complex system that can make a significant difference.
In 2006, Muhammad Yunus was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his pioneering work in microcredit. This is where small loans, some less than $100, are given to entrepreneurs who lack collateral and are too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. He recognized that small changes can make a big difference when they are thoughtfully implemented.
So often, all that is needed is a little tweaking, in our personal life, in our professional life, in our community and in our world.
Resolutions are good but they can be quite daunting. Tweaking is not so intimidating.
Maybe we ought to resolve to stop making New Year’s resolutions and start making New Year’s tweaks. What a great way to restore our hope and optimism at the start of a new year!
Rev. Brian Krushel, is Pastor/Priest/Minister, North Thompson Pastoral Charge, Barriere and Clearwater, B.C.