New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve been thinking about New Year’s resolutions for a few weeks now. I decided that I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. Let’s use the example of repentance. Today is always the best day to repent. Far too often we resolve that starting on January 1st we will be better at saying our prayers regularly or reading our scriptures. Or, we resolve that we will start exercising or go on a diet. The problem is that by allowing the timeline of our change to be dictated by a particular (and traditional) date, we make some of the impetus of change extrinsic to ourselves. In other words, it places some of the responsibility for change outside of ourselves and onto an arbitrary, culturally-significant date. We have a long background of making and breaking New Year’s resolutions.

My real concern is, if something is so important to do – to change – then why wait until January 1st? What’s wrong with changing today? There is nothing wrong with making New Year’s resolutions, I just think that, especially if the needed change is related to repentance or the gospel, it is better to go ahead and make the change now instead of waiting until the new year.

As one last example. Last June I decided I needed to revamp my study of the gospel (I’ve mentioned this before). I could have kept going on in my less-than-ideal scripture study until the new year, then made a resolution and changed. Or, I could have done what I did do and make the change then. Even if this desire to re-immerse myself in the gospel had happened in December, I still would have started my new gospel study then rather than on January 1st. If you feel the need to improve some aspect of life, just do it now; don’t wait.

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