Work On Your Strengths

2 Jan

“Work on your strengths, not your weaknesses. How many of your New Year’s resolutions have been about fixing a flaw?”  ~ Jonathan Haidt

Our lives are full of resolutions, aren’t they?  Sometimes they are made willingly, without coercion.  We think about something we might want to do and realize that it will mean a change in what we typically do.  We resolve to change so that we can get to our goal.

Other times, our resolutions might be coerced or foisted upon us.  That may be because of serious health issues, the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, et cetera.  We find ourselves having to do something different in our lives or with our lives.

There are still other times that we are inspired by the success of others and decide that we want to have those same successes in our own lives.  Therefore, we resolve to change.

The New Year gives us all a fresh start.  It tells us that what was in the past remains in the past.  If we want to do something different with our lives, we have the opportunity to begin again.

Many make resolutions to change.  Most resolutions are broken within the month of January.  We are fickle people.  We say we want to change; yet, we do not want to commit the time and energy to effect the change.

Yet, if we want to move on to a new life, we have to change.  We need to make changes, subtle or drastic, in order to keep growing.  We need change in order to stimulate ourselves.  Otherwise, we risk stagnating.

It is in that same vein that I sit at the eve of a new year and try to make some resolutions for myself.  As I will do, I encourage you to do.  I believe, if our new year is going to be any different and if our resolutions have a chance to make us better that we have to keep in mind the following “rules” to making resolutions:

  • The resolution must be something that can be accomplished.  So often, we decide to “do the impossible”.  No wonder our resolve soon flags and fades.
  • One resolution should be directed toward our health.  After all, if we are sickly, we will not have the energy to work on our other resolutions.
  • One resolution should be directed toward our spiritual growth.  How often do you pray?  What manner of prayer do you use?  Maybe you can spend more time in contemplation.  Maybe you can visit the Blessed Sacrament once a week.  Maybe you can make more time for spiritual reading.
  • One resolution should be directed toward family/friends/workplace.  Can you be more kind?  Can you work at forgiving someone and/or letting go of a grudge?
  • One resolution should be directed to your community.  Perhaps volunteer at a local soup kitchen, visit the sick and shut-in, visit the local hospice, visit the hospital, volunteer in community activities.  In short, make a positive difference in the life of at least one other person around you.

I know that this is January 2nd.  However, I also know that many have not even considered making resolutions this year.  Others may have made resolutions and decided not to follow them.  It’s never too late to begin yet again.  Make this year count.  Build on your strengths.  Be a better person this year physically, emotionally, communally, and spiritually.

FAITH ACTION:  Take time to formulate resolutions for yourself or, if you have already done so, review them to see if they include the suggested components above.