(I'd have inserted a Graphic or Picture, but I don't know how to do that in Blogger, must ask my "smart friends"!) (Hope you like this anyhow!)
I promised myself this year would be different from years past -- I would keep each of the resolutions I made for the New Year. I began to reminisce about past resolutions and what it was that had caused them to be so difficult to keep. After careful consideration, I discovered my problem had been that I set myself up for failure right from the beginning. In the excitement of the opportunity for a new beginning, I listed too many resolutions, and my goals were too lofty. So, I surmised, that if I made fewer resolutions, I would have no problem keeping them. I also decided to steer away from those where I was sure to fail. Armed with my newfound wisdom, I grabbed my pen and paper and began to formulate my plan. Instead of I'll read my Bible "daily," I wrote I'll read my Bible "more often." Regarding my writing projects, I told myself I would write "more" rather than "every day." And finally, I wrote I'll eat healthier. No way was I going to write the dreaded "diet" word again! In only three resolutions, I'd taken care of my spiritual, mental and physical well being. Realizing that I'd covered all of the aspects of my life, I sat back in my chair, rather proud of myself. A few days into the New Year, and with my resolutions already a distant memory, I came across a container of chocolates hidden on the far corner of my desk. As I opened the container, I discovered these were not ordinary chocolates. Each chocolate contained a message printed on the inside of the wrapper. I carefully, unfolded the delicate foil and read my message, "Keep the promises you make to yourself." I was elated. I was being granted permission to pamper myself. I smiled as I thought about the possibilities. I was free to spend an entire day watching old movies. Or, I could read for hours without being interrupted. I gently smoothed out the edges and tacked the foil to my bulletin board. When someone wanted to know why I wasn't preparing dinner, I'd point to the message. "I promised myself I'd read today," I'd say. My excitement quickly faded. I discovered the paper where I'd written my resolutions concealed under the container of chocolates. It occurred to me that a resolution is in fact a promise you make to yourself. Even though I hadn't realized it at the time, there had been a problem with my list from the beginning. In an effort to create a way to keep my resolutions, I'd allowed myself to lower my standards and justify myself right out of keeping them. They appeared noncommittal. In looking up the definition for resolution, I discovered that the synonym is courage. I'd never thought of courage in relation to resolutions, but I realized that it does indeed take courage if one is determined to keep a resolution. There was nothing wrong with the idea of me pampering myself on occasion -- in fact, it could be healthy. However, the other items I'd listed were important as well. If kept, these resolutions would enrich my life. Although today is not the beginning of a New Year, it is a new day. With each new day comes the opportunity for a new beginning. My resolution for this day will be to keep those promises I make to myself, however big or small they may seem. In so doing, I will be better able to care for those I love.
-- Marcia Hodges