Hasty Resolutions are Futile


How to Make New Year's Resolutions Meaningful and Lasting

“Half-hearted and premature resolution is no resolution at all, and is shattered at the first difficulty... 

A man should be slow to form a resolution. He should searchingly examine his position and take into consideration every circumstance and difficulty with his decision, and should be fully prepared to meet them… Hasty resolutions are futile.”

That quote by James Allen stopped me in my tracks when I first read it. As I thought it through, I began to see its truth.

We often go into the New Year making hasty resolutions. In our zeal to change our lives, it’s easy to make brazen statements that have no real foundation within us to build upon.

I’ve worked diligently on keeping my word and being in integrity. One night many years ago, I was celebrating passing a difficult final examination. My fellow graduate students were involved in a flurry of conversation about the upcoming half-marathon they were running. They were all athletic. I’m not athletic at all.

Suddenly, the conversation turned toward me with the question, “Ramah, will you run it with us?” I halfheartedly replied, “Sure. Why not?” 

The next day I reviewed my word. I was not a marathon runner, but I realized that if I didn’t start honoring my word in small and large ways, I never would. So I began to honor my word.

It all began with the serious resolution to run the half-marathon. I plotted how many months I had until the big race. I talked to different athletes, got some cute exercise outfits, bought food for a sports junkie and I focused on my resolution. 

The day of the race I met up with my six-foot tall cousin. Her long soccer legs were well conditioned compared to my five-foot-three stubs. She advised me to start in the back with the walkers and with relief, I did while she went up to the front. 

The race began. I paced myself. As I ran through the hills of eastern Iowa, I found out a lot about this  resolution I’d made. Some of the curves were really tough. I hopped around the walkers in an agile way. The hills seemed difficult, but I reminded myself of my word. Near the end of the run I felt my chest burning but focused on the cheers from the people that lined the street.

As my short legs began to feel less than fleet-footed I came over the last hill to the finish where I clocked in just behind my long-legged cousin! I thought, “Well, look at that!” I felt a huge rush of accomplishment that made me proud of who I am and a spike in self-esteem knowing I could run a marathon! My name was in the newspaper the next day with the few who finished well. 

I’d discovered the greatness of a worthy resolution. Nothing great can ever be done without thinking it through and then overcoming the obstacles with a “can do” attitude. Serious focused resolutions are powerful. 

We might want to ask ourselves how many of our New Year’s resolutions are hasty ones. If they were made without a firm resolve to make them happen, then this is a great opportunity to either give it more follow through or let it go in favor of a different one we can really get behind.

What are you willing to resolve to change?

It’s by your word and resolve that you change your circumstances and life. And once you keep your word to yourself and others, you just may be surprised like I was at how great that feels!