New Democrat (Monrovia)

31 December 2012

Liberia: Making New Year's Resolutions Fulfilling

opinion

The year, 2012, ends at midnight tonight and another year 2013 will usher in at the same time, presenting a unique opportunity for people to assemble in churches or other places and make resolutions pledging to drop, add or change some values in their life styles.

In these resolutions, some are expected to make confessions to the realities of their situation with a strong determination to make changes in their lives.

While it is true that an occasion like the eve of the New Year presents a unique opportunity for making resolutions and cast aside the old way of life, we wonder why people see the need to make resolutions that they may or may not be able to fulfil.

According to theologians, the essence of making resolutions is to allow mankind to re-assess and re-align some patterns of life for the better. In other words, it gives people the chance to move away from what they should be known for or what they ought not to have been doing to ensure a better future.

But indications are that most of the resolutions made by various people are short-lived. The reasons have been blamed on the lack of adequate preparation and strong determination to tame some of the activities that hinder the resolutions to be firm.

For instance, sociologists believe that if someone says he wants to stop stealing but still finds himself in the midst of criminals, that person will denounce his resolution within a short time. The prevailing socio-economic situation is another factor hinged on our failure to keep our resolution. If somebody determines to shun corrupt habit or prostitution but later begins to feel the pinch of joblessness to fight hunger and other forms of deprivation, he will definitely forget about his resolution.

This is why we believe that by all accounts, most of the New Year's resolutions are easier said than fulfilled. Only few of them are held firmly.

Don't you believe that some people made resolutions on Dec 31, 2011, to eschew acts like armed robbery or murder that had been addicted to for years but that barely two months into the New Year, they discovered their devious acts more fascinating than when they had decided to forgo them. On the other hand, do you also remember somebody who managed to sustain his resolution to refrain from profiteering - all because such an unwholesome business practice was at the detriment of others?

We hasten to advice, therefore, that in every resolution we make, we must invoke the blessings of God and offer prayers for its sustainability. This is because we believe that when we make such godly decision and commit it to God, He will provide the strength and means of sustaining it.

An American psychologist, Dr John Grohol, once said people who believe that self-control is something dynamic, changing and unlimited, tend to set more resolutions. He cited the instances of those who believe that: "I can stop smoking, all I have to do is put my mind to it. I can also change my eating habit and be a better person, it just takes willpower".

According to him, people who believe that we all are born with a limited, set amount of self-control that one cannot change, naturally do worse on obtaining their New Year's resolution goals.

"What this means is that you will do better on your New Year's goals if you believe that self-control is indeed an unlimited resource that we all have access to and can leverage with our resolutions.

"The more you believe in your own capabilities, the more likely you will succeed as well; it also seems to help to set more goals, because you will be more likely to succeed at them if you do," he said.

All arguments notwithstanding, psychologists have identified some tips to help keep resolutions. The first is to make only one resolution; picking just one aspect of life to improve and increase chances of success.

They also suggest planning resolution in advance, instead of waiting until New Year's Eve to allow for reflection on what to really want to achieve. Another tip is to avoid repeating a previous resolution, or at least try a different technique to keep it.

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