by Pam Tinsley

As we turn the pages of our calendars to January 2018, perhaps we look with hopeful expectation to the New Year. Perhaps we think of it as a fresh start. And it will indeed be a new year: although our rituals and the seasons lend continuity and a sense of familiarity, each day opens us to a new beginning.

We may even contemplate New Year’s resolutions! Yes, I know: within a week, 25% of resolutions will be history. By year’s end, fewer than 10% will have been fully kept.

As much as I’m not a particularly avid “resolutionist,” a newspaper article[1]  recently caught my eye:  The Only Way to Keep Your Resolutions. The author suggests that, if we rely on self-control and willpower, resolutions will fail. Instead, he contends, our emotions — specifically, gratitude, compassion and an authentic sense of pride (not “hubris”, but what I would call “inner joy”) — encourage us to behave in ways that result in self-control. When our values are focused outwardly toward others, rather than inwardly toward ourselves, we are more likely to make meaningful changes in our lives. In short, these qualities – gratitude, compassion and a sense of inner joy – are also the basis for establishing and sustaining relationships.

And, certainly, as followers of Christ, we understand that our values are shaped by Jesus’ values of love, compassion, gratitude and inner joy.

This insight is helping me reframe my own perception of resolutions and to consider how I might take steps to embrace Jesus’ values more fully in my daily life. What about you? How might your New Year unfold if you embrace Jesus’ values of love, compassion, gratitude and inner joy in your daily life?

[1] DeSteno, David. “The Only Way to Keep Your Resolutions.” The New York Times, December 29, 2017.

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