It’s been six weeks. Have you failed your resolutions yet?

Woman and dessert on scale

Weighing the temptation ...

If you haven’t given up on your New Years resolutions yet, take heart: there’s two more weeks before 75 percent of us crash and burn.

I made my only really successful resolution almost 20 years ago. It was at a time in my life when I was not very good at having fun, but I was pretty good at taking on obligations. So I resolved: “I like to bake, therefore I will bake something every week.” Didn’t matter if it was just a plate of biscuits. Within two years, that overblown sense of obligation to enjoy baking had me develop so much skill that I was able to provide wedding cakes as my gift to several brides … I’d learned that much.

So that one resolution was a success. Other than that, I’ve never lost weight, maintained an exercise program, established a morning prayer routine, or helped my husband feel like the wonderful man he is.

We’ve all made resolutions that we’ve failed to keep. Resolutions are nags. No one likes to live with them. They remind us of what’s wrong with us. They urge us to take on impossible tasks. They bring to mind how we’ve failed in the past and suggest how we’ll probably fail in the future.

This year, as usual I have no resolutions, but for the first time, I have a “bucket list” of more than 30 things I want to accomplish in 2011. (Inspired by Celestine Chua’s Personal Excellence blog, which you’ll find in the blogroll, I should point out.)

Some of the items on my list are really small — like “finish making that necklace I started last August” — the one that our cats keep “redesigning” for me. Some of them are bigger, like specific vacation travel plans. Some take consistent but reasonable effort, like “exercise 3x/wk” or “do something fun with my husband every weekend.”

And you know what? They’re happening. Because even when they’re things I “should” do, they’re in the big bucket full of things I “want” to do. And every little success I check off is that much more motivation to keep the whole bucket moving forward.

It’s got me thinking again about why I started this blog. Because most of us don’t have that “bucket list” of Christian purpose to keep us moving forward. And as I’ve returned to the research I’ve done in Scripture over the last nine months, and the writing I’ve done in this blog, I’ve found a “bucket list” of more than 750 specifics from God that anyone could add to their personal “bucket list” — if God so moved them.

Because as we all know, each of us has been uniquely re-designed by God in Christ for specific tasks that God has prepared us to do and has prepared for us to do. (Eph. 2: 9-10).

The big bucket is inscribed with four commandments to love: Love God, love your neighbor, love your enemy, love one another.

But each of us will fill it with acts of love that are uniquely our own … and God has filled Scripture with hints as to how we might do that. We’ll begin finding “bucket list ideas” in the months to come.

Are you on target with your resolutions this year?

About Carlene Byron

Writer, editor, publicist, communications project manager ... I've written technology and infrastructure; I used to edit New England Church Life and The New England Christian and I've freelanced to publications ranging from Commonweal to Christianity Today. I'm now living in my hometown in Maine and am speaking about global perspectives on suicide prevention.
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