New Year’s Resolutions

Sure, we’re into the second week of January, but the year is still new enough that I’m thinking about resolutions. I fail at resolutions, like everybody else, but I still like to go through the exercise of setting them. Today in church (I’m a Mormon, fyi), we talked about the resolutions one of our prophets made. George Albert Smith was the prophet from 1945-1951, after forty years or so of serving in the Quorum of the Twelve, and many years of service prior to that. When he was 34 (about 1904, after he was called to be an Apostle, but well before he became Prophet), he made a list of resolutions to live by. He called it his personal creed. It reads as follows:

I would be a friend to the friendless and find joy in ministering to the needs of the poor.

I would visit the sick and afflicted and inspire in them a desire for faith to be healed.

I would teach the truth to the understanding and blessing of all mankind.

I would seek out the erring one and try to win him back to a righteous and a happy life.

I would not seek to force people to live up to my ideals but rather love them into doing the thing that is right.

I would live with the masses and help to solve their problems that their earth life may be happy.

I would avoid the publicity of high positions and discourage the flattery of thoughtless friends.

I would not knowingly wound the feelings of any, not even one who may have wronged me, but would seek to do him good and make him my friend.

I would overcome the tendency to selfishness and jealousy and rejoice in the successes of all the children of my Heavenly Father.

I would not be an enemy to any living soul.

Knowing that the Redeemer of mankind has offered to the world the only plan that will fully develop us and make us really happy here and hereafter, I feel it not only a duty but also a blessed privilege to disseminate this truth.

Wow. Those are way better goals than “Lose 20 pounds” or “Finally finish writing that novel.” Maybe New Year’s Resolutions are small potatoes. Maybe I would be more successful if I set goals that actually mattered, the kind of goals that take more than a year to achieve. Having been raised by super goal-oriented parents (or at least they were when I was at home), I understand that little goals get you to big goals. But what’s the point of losing twenty pounds just to lose twenty pounds? Pass the cake, please. Now, if, for example, I’m losing twenty pounds to prepare for a marathon five years from now, or as part of fertility treatments, or to avoid dire cardiac issues, well, ok then. That has meaning to me. All I’m saying is, maybe I can respect myself enough to challenge myself to do something difficult. Maybe I can rise to the challenge of actually becoming a better person. Maybe in 2012, I can finally acknowledge that I totally kick butt, and, with God’s help,  I can do anything I set my mind to– including changing my character for the better. Maybe 2012 will be the year of MORE: more meaning, more repentance, more change, more authenticity. And, yeah, ok, more trips to the gym.

What are your life goals?

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