“Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!”

~William Arthur Ward

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“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” ~Bill Vaughn

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“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” ~Edith Lovejoy Pierce


Many scoff at New Year’s resolutions—and for good reason, I suppose. Too often, our resolve hardly lasts past its utterance, and seldom does it make February.

Still, I like the way we mark time. I like the freshness of a new year. I like the opportunity to look back over the year just past, to assess it, to evaluate my use of it, to remember its joys, to bury its sorrows. To move on.

Therefore, as we approach a brand new year, yet unsullied by human touch, I put forth 11 worthy resolutions for your consideration and mine. They include declarations and maxims.

Number One

There will be difficulty in 2011. None of us will make it through an entire year without hardship of some kind. Difficult times bring out the best in the good and the worst in the bad.

Resolve to do good for goodness’ sake, for God’s sake, for the sake of others, and for your own sake.

Number Two

Behavior is affected by belief and attitude.

Resolve to know what you believe and why and determine to maintain an attitude that reflects that belief system.

Number Three

Altitude is the height a person reaches. Aptitude is the potential the person could reach. Attitude is the difference between the two.

Resolve to maintain a can-do attitude.

Number Four

Beyond every obstacle is an opportunity. Vince Lombardi said, “Obstacles are what you see when you take your eye off the goal.”

Resolve to look beyond the obstacle to see the opportunity.

Number Five

Extraordinary only exists because ordinary does. Most of life is filled with ordinary moments. Extraordinary people are those who manage to turn ordinary moments into extraordinary memories.

Resolve not to sleepwalk through life. Be alert. Be aware of the beauty in every minute. Live in the moment…and beyond the moment.

Number Six

Life is filled with conflict and controversy. It is impossible for one person to bear the weight of the world on his/her shoulders. Is it your fight? Should you make it your fight? Are you morally compelled to engage?

Resolve to choose your battles. Understand that some are not worth fighting, but some definitely are.

Number Seven

It is more blessed to give than receive. This is true, because the giver is always greater than the receiver. It is true because if you are giving, then it indicates you have something to give, which means you are blessed. Besides, the joy a gift can bring is usually very temporary. (How many kids have already abandoned their Christmas toys or grown bored with them?) The joy of giving lasts.

Resolve to give more than you take.

Number Eight

Healthy relationships are based on selflessness. Toxic relationships are based on selfishness. If you are in it for yourself, you will likely be in it by yourself before long.

Selfish people are the most miserable people around.

Resolve to put the other person’s needs, comfort, happiness ahead of your own…and learn for yourself what true happiness feels like.

Number Nine

Not all endeavors are of equal value. The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ tell us that God values people more than anything else.

Resolve to prioritize before you mobilize. Expend the most energy, effort and time on the things that matter most.

Number Ten

The truth hurts. It also heals. Often, the difference between whether it hurts or heals is in the person telling it. A mean-spirited person may tell the truth in malice, which may be as wicked and hurtful as any lie.

Resolve to tell—and to live—the truth in love.

Number Eleven

No one lives to himself or dies to himself. That is a biblical truth. No year exists by itself either. Every year is its own thing, but also a part of history…of your history and mine.

Resolve to live your life in 2011 with the understanding that the things you do and say will live on long after December 31.

Conclusion

Whenever I think of a New Year’s resolution, for some reason, I always hear that old hymn we used to sing in church. Listen. Do you hear it? Can you sing it?

I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world’s delight.
Things that are higher,
Things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.
I will hasten to Him.
Hasten so glad and free.
Jesus, greatest, highest,
I will come to Thee!