Naturally, man is a not infallible. Only God is. Our infirmity or weakness is borne out of the insatiability of our material needs or acquisition, whether of the mundane physical or of the subsistence essence. Man, no matter how gifted, is limited.
In our bid to overcome our limitations or in our striving to scale the ladder of life which Abraham Maslow described as ‘hierarchy of needs’, we can become desperate. In our desperation therefore, we may appear over-ambitious and can be sometimes stupid in our pursuit. Inevitably, we are very ignorant even when we think we know how to achieve our dream. Often too, we can be negligent of the basics including the spiritual while trying to attain the material, because in pursuits our success usually manifested. So in our drive to arrive, we can trample on the rights of others or we can be corrupted, injuring our soul.
When we are corrupted, we are likely to get depressed or feel certain hollowness, a void that can also heighten fretfulness, leading us to begin a search for ways and means of filling the void. It is usually the quest to fill this void that we seek reconnection with our God. If we must succeed, we marshal plans, strategise, lay out elaborate plans or road maps to accomplish what we intend.
All these steps we take are the contents of resolutions that we often make, either when a year is withering or another one is blooming. But, a new year is nothing but continuation or transition of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks or months,
The paradox of New Year resolutions is that many people hardly succeed at it because they lack the conviction or the will power to sustain the change they desire in their lives.
I ask must resolutions be made at the beginning or end of the year?
What many people fail to understand is that resolution is about commitment to change and I’m not sure God will not change the condition of a person until he attunes himself to the requirements of the change process. The fundamentals of these are faith, conviction, commitment, patience and steadfastness. There is no hypocrisy or self-deception in embarking the process as change is not something one stumbles upon. It is a deliberate process, an acculturation over a length of time, a behavioural journey which we do not leave to chance or gamble about. It is purposeful.
Those who wait till the end of a year or the beginning of another year to change themselves through mere wishful thinking hardly last beyond the first few weeks of the year before they return to their old ways. If you wish to change, it is like weaning yourself. It is gradual, not suddenly so that you will not suffer withdrawal syndrome.
Do you really need to wait till the end of a year or the beginning of another year to resolve to change? Hence, I think those who engage in such ritual as New Year resolutions are merely deceiving themselves because the moment they realise that there’s something wrong with them, they begin to change in attitude.
For instance, if you are alcoholic, must you wait till the end of the year before you stop hanging out at pubs and beer joints? Where you have less than six months grace to stop. If you are somebody that luxuriates in adultery, must you be infected before you stop going chasing after anything in skirt? The truth is that, it is lack of conviction or faith that would make anybody to postpone his/her redemption or change. You may never have an opportunity to achieve that redemption, change or salvation if you are in the habit of pushing forward when to stop negative habits.
If I have focused more on the negatives, let me now discuss the positive. Let say you want to acquire additional qualifications, gain new experience, change career or lifestyle, you do not need to wait till the beginning of another year.
The moment you realise these needs, that is when you must be resolute to pursue opportunities that are often indeterminable. You may think they are long in coming, and you push forward your resolutions, but they might just be round the corner and when they surface, you are ill-prepared to grab them. Do not blame anybody when you flop because you only had wishful thinking of what you want and not really committed to achieving them.
In anything in life, whether spiritual or material, do not give time or procrastinate when to start it. The moment you realise that something is wrong or something is essential for you, that is when you have to commit yourself to change or pursue it. This is borne out of conviction, not wishful thinking. If you take the beginning of a year as the starting point of your journey to change or pursue success, don’t fool yourself that the change will be dramatic or immediate.
You must start in small way, like water dropping into a bucket. If at the end of the day, the bucket is not full, at least you have reached a level. Continue dropping the water in bucket.
The most important thing is starting a process and consolidating on it over time with full conviction and firmness of purpose, not minding the challenges or difficulties. Do not look for the big or dramatic changes, but count the little successes that come your way. Do not overburden yourself but start building in small ways. The gathering of little pebbles can make a mountain over time.
The interesting thing is that you cannot give God deadline but He can look into your heart, if you are sincere in the righteousness of your efforts, correctness of your approach, steadfastness or patience in challenging times and surprise you when you least expected. This is not about a New Year. This is an everyday opportunity to change, to climb the ladder or achieve your dream. Do not delay when to start a new life.