Sunday, January 6, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year! This post is a few days later than I had planned, but here goes. At this time of year, many people make resolutions for self-improvement. I usually make two or three, which I manage to keep for about a month in a good year. I was a bit more ambitious this year, and I made eight resolutions for ’08.

There are not many scriptures that focus on the childhood and youth of Jesus Christ, but there is a great one in the book of Luke that I find instructive at this time of year. "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." (Luke 2:52) It shows four distinct areas in which He developed. Since Christ is our example and we are to strive to be like Him, I have chosen this scripture as the framework for my resolutions this year. I have grouped them into four categories.

I. Wisdom- I have defined this broadly to include not only wisdom itself, but all pursuits of the mind. I have three goals in this category.
1. I resolve to return to law school in the fall. When I first wrote this goal, I made it considerably squishier, something like "I resolve to do what I can to return to law school in the fall," but I decided that I was through with being squishy on this one. I recognize that there are parts of this resolution that are out of my control, but I'm going to exercise faith on this one. I firmly believe that I am on the right career path, so I'm going to do my part and let the Lord do His.
2. I resolve to read at least one book per month. It has been a long time since I have taken the time to read a book for fun, as opposed to for a class. I've enjoyed some of the books I've read for class, but there's something different about picking up a book to read simply because I want to. I do a considerable amount of reading for pleasure anyway, between blogs and news articles and other stuff online, but I can't help but feel that I've been missing something by not reading books.
I've already completed January's installment of this resolution. Just yesterday, I finished reading My Grandfather's Son, the autobiography of Clarence Thomas. I found all the hardships he had to overcome to get where he is to be inspiring. My law school woes don't seem so bad anymore. Regardless of what you think of his court opinions, I recommend the book highly.
3. I resolve to write at least one blog entry per week. Well, I've managed it for this week. You'll all know whether or not I end up keeping this one.

II. Stature- I can't do anything about actually increasing my stature; I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I've reached my full, impressive height of 5'4". I'm using this to refer to physical goals. I only have one in this category.
1. I resolve to exercise for 20 minutes per day, six days per week. I have made more ambitious goals about exercise in years past, but I keep breaking them, so I decided to set one I might keep. I've already broken this, so I've decided that it starts tomorrow, the first full week of the year. I used to be in really good shape- I was on the swim team in high school and in the ROTC in college. On and after my mission, I got out of the habit of exercise, and it's really hard to get back in. I'm not overweight, so when I mention to people that I need to start working out again, they are dismissive. I'm not doing it for weight, I'm doing it for health. I feel better when I exercise. Also, heart disease runs in my family, and I want to do everything I can to spare myself from it.

III. Favor with God- This one seems fairly straightforward. I'm using this for goals related to my spiritual life. I have two in this category.
1. I resolve to meditate for 20 minutes per day. The meditation that I do/have done in the past isn't really like a lot of Eastern meditation of which I'm aware. I took a meditation class in college, and it was taught by a Jesuit priest. I found the class to be extremely valuable. We met each morning and meditated as a group. My mind tends to race and I'm often easily distracted. I used the meditation time to just let my mind run with whatever was concerning me, and I found that by just sitting quietly and thinking, I was able to identify and solve my problems. I slept better and had better communion with the Holy Spirit. I've fallen out of this habit and I want to get back into it.
2. I resolve to have at least 20 minutes of quality gospel study each day. In years past, I've set goals to read the standard works during the year. Those goals have been valuable, but I feel that I have sacrificed quality for quantity. This year, I have no set program. I will study what needs to be studied at a given time. I'm hoping that by freeing myself from a schedule, I'll get more out of it.

IV. Favor with man- I've made this a broad category that includes social and financial. I have two goals in this category.
1. I resolve to go on at least three social outings per month. I've kind of let my social life stagnate, and I really need to get out more. I'm defining social outing broadly. It isn't just dates, although a date would certainly qualify.
2. I resolve to find a job in the legal field that will be sufficient to pay my bills. My current job is in the medical/social services field, and it is sucking me dry emotionally. It also doesn't pay me enough to avoid the ugly trap of credit card debt. (And I don't live extravagantly, either.) I have a recruiter helping me out. I'm looking for a paralegal position somewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. I know the jobs are out there, I just need to find one.

I love the start of a new year because it gives me an extra incentive to start fresh and improve myself. What are some of your resolutions? Do you find yourself making the same ones over and over again, or do you make different ones each year?


Jordan said...

How are things coming on these resolutions? That's an ambitious list you have there!

I haven't really made any yet- I tend to use January as "resolution month" to think about what I really want to do. Maybe one of these years, I will be able to push that back to December...

Keri said...

I've been doing better than I expected on my resolutions, but not as well as I would have hoped.

I've read two books this month, and blogged at least once per week so far, so I'm doing well in this area.

I haven't been so good about exercising. Once I overcome my inertia, I'll be fine. It's just getting started that I struggle with.

I've been doing well with my gospel study, but my meditation has been sporadic. I get it in a few times a week, which is definitely helping.

I've been getting out more, which is good. The job search is still ongoing, but I'm keeping my spirits up.