Hi, friends. I have read at least 25 posts about New Year’s resolutions this year, and I feel inspired by your words. Of course, I should expect no less from the community of lovely, intelligent, honest people here.
In various ways, many of you made a poignant point–we should reassess how we think of New Year’s resolutions.
What Is Self-Improvement?
For most people, New Year’s resolutions revolve around self-improvement (or “bucket list” goals). The average list of resolutions might read:
- Cut down on sugar
- Eat more veggies
- Start using my gym membership (lol)
- Save up for a certain trip
- Try a new hobby
- Do more of (insert productive task like reading or cooking)
These are good goals. But in contemplating the idea of self-improvement, the question arises–how does one actually define self-improvement? Are there ways of improving the self that delve deeper or reach farther than “living my best life?”
Being disabled makes the concept of self-improvement interesting.
On the one hand, I’m thrown into a situation where I can fight or lie down in defeat. In practical terms, I can exercise frequently (despite how hard it is) and maintain muscle strength despite my deteriorating coordination, or I can decide to do nothing while using my condition as the justification, atrophying into an immobile sack of potatoes. My choice to fight requires a lot of self-discipline, which is the incentive needed for most resolutions. I already have that trait because of my long-term response to the cards I was dealt in life. [Obligatory side note that I do not always apply that trait to every area I should, haha.]
On the other hand, I must grapple with the fact that my condition will progress with time. Year after year, people look to make the next one bigger and better, while I know things will only get tougher year after year, despite the fact that I’m just 25 years old.
I’m in a weird spot–not needing one of the most common resolutions (Start Exercising) yet knowing self-improvement only goes so far for me. But here is where my faith plays into the picture and gives me a fresh perspective on the whole idea of New Year’s resolutions.
Christian self-improvement is almost an oxymoron. Self-improvement is all about control, but discipleship in Christ means relinquishing control to walk in Jesus’s footsteps and trust God.
This year, I want to make resolutions that improve the self in a Christian sense with habits and activities that draw me closer to God or serve humanity, His beloved creations. In the Christian sense of self-improvement, my disability is irrelevant.
The trait of self-discipline I referenced earlier has also helped me form the habit of reading scripture consistently (though the magnetic force of the Word drawing me back again and again can’t be overestimated). Once again, a popular resolution–Read the Bible–doesn’t apply to me. I must push myself in other ways to seek the will and heart of God.
Here are a few of my 2019 resolutions so far:
- Pray before getting out of bed in the morning
- Don’t be afraid to talk about my faith with non-Christians
- Donate $100 or more to a charity at least once
- Speak to strangers more often
- See the needs of people around me
- Swallow sarcastic or hateful comments
- Start compiling a resource page on my second NT re-read, perhaps listing predominant themes, connections between different books, note-worthy verses, etc.
Thanks for reading! Do you have some resolutions that you’d like to share or suggestions for my list? Let me know in the comments.