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Challenge yourself with your New Year resolutions
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Have you ever thought of the challenge many of us take on every new year? It is the tradition of making resolutions for the year we are about to enter. The calendar we live with turns the page for a new year on Jan. 1. Have you ever thought that almost always the world we face on Jan. 1 is the same one we left on Dec. 31? But the tradition of making New Year’s Resolutions is a reminder that though the world might not change, we can change some things about our own lives.

I think the first step is to take a long, honest look at one’s self. What are your weaknesses, your strengths? Where could you benefit from changing? The month of January is named for the Roman god Janus. He is one who looks both forward and backwards, the god of beginnings and transitions. So first we look back. There were some things in 2014 you could build on. There might be some wrong turns that you need to redirect. Base your resolutions on where you are and what changes you need to make.

Now as you begin to look forward and set your goals for 2015, resist the temptation to take out the same old resolutions that you have made every year, dust them off and simply put a new date on them. Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. How many years has losing weight been one of your resolutions? Maybe you really should lose some but it hasn’t really worked yet has it. This year why don’t you think outside of the box. Set some new goals that will get you to the end results you want. For example, why not instead of setting how many pounds you want to lose, set a goal of how much you are going to walk every day or change the type of foods that you eat?

A word of caution as you set your resolutions, don’t overload yourself. Most of us need to make more changes than we can pull off in one year. Be selective and choose the most important. I am not saying not to be bold. J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, said, “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.” Make you goals challenging but allow yourself to give it the focus needed. Allow yourself to reach for more than you ever imagined. Don’t limit yourself until you have tried.

This year think outside the box, don’t reach too far or overload what you’re willing to try. Pick some steps you can take that will get you going in the directions you need to be headed. The key to success might not be to fully arrive at where you want to be but make some progress. Have you ever thought that in baseball the difference between an average batter and a star is one out of twelve times at bat. If you get a hit three of the twelve you are hitting .250 which is not bad but is not great. But one more hit in your twelve times means you are hitting .333 which puts you among the elite.
Most of us, through the years, have experienced success for a while and then we stumble. If your goal is worth achieving,

I urge you to forgive you self and try again. “Reboot” and set out again working towards the change you desire. Another mantra I get from baseball is no one bats a thousand, in fact no one bats .500. Be gracious to yourself and others as you struggle at times. Don’t give up. Keep the focus needed. Allow yourself to reach for more than you ever imagined. Don’t limit yourself until you have tried.

Where you underachieved last year or the year before may be a great place to start. Make sure that you have allowed enough adjustment that success for 2015 is possible. I wish you a very blessed and happy new year in 2015. May each of us find ways to become more like the person we were created to be in this world.

B. Wiley Stephens is a retired United Methodist Minister and author who now resides in Covington