Lose weight. Exercise. Write that book. Take that class. Cut out (or cut down on) red wine.
I’ve made these resolutions before, and I know you have, too. As a matter of fact, this is the first year I can remember that I haven’t been tempted to try changes like these. But I’m not going to resolve in 2021 to exercise more or lose weight. Sure, I need to do both of these things and will work on them, but I won’t take the easy way out and declare them to be my New Year resolutions. They are easily made and broken.
Instead, I am looking inward this year. I want to focus on my character and resolve to work on those positive aspects which ought to define it and personify it to others. Here are nine personal attributes I will strive to improve upon. I think this would be a good list for anyone; I know it is a good list for me. Just writing them down has given me a good start toward keeping them.
Some folks are easy to love, but what about those who really get on your nerves? Love must be unconditional, or it isn’t love at all, but little more than affectionate tolerance. And what about billions of people I’ve never met? When was the last time I prayed for them?
Attitude is a choice, and I chose to be happy. Living a life of joy seems so much better than one of disappointment or disgruntlement. I will remind myself to enjoy the routine of every day. If 2020 taught us anything, it is to take nothing for granted.
Everyone wishes for peace on earth, yet we disagree on everything from politics to sports. I will try very, very hard to be the peacekeeper, to see the other point of view and work to ratchet down disagreements. I want to bring more light and less heat.
Most people, except maybe my husband, consider me patient. I will try to make this opinion unanimous.
Lady MacBeth thought her husband was “too full of the milk of human kindness.” We all know how she turned out. Kindness is so much more rewarding than getting even or holding grudges. The fact is that we can never know what someone else is dealing with. Whenever I am tempted to respond in kind to a harsh word, I will remember that.
We all want to be good and to do good, but truly goodness can only be found through the eyes of others. I strongly suspect success in this is tied to success with the other eight.
I hope I can safely say that those who know me trust me to keep my word. But that’s not enough. I pledge to go the extra mile to earn the confidence of others. They need to know that I will be there for them if they need me.
I have never been a violent person, but I still can demonstrate more gentleness in my dealings with others. It’s so easy with grandchildren, a little more difficult with adults. Marks of gentleness include a warm smile and an understanding attitude.
The last is the most important. If I don’t have self-control, I can’t possibly accomplish the other eight. The key is to catch it when I feel control start to slip.
Ambitious goals? Most definitely. And as a first step toward improving my character, I admit that I did not author this list. It is almost 2,000 years old. But then, St. Paul was writing for the ages.
Christina Pierce is the publisher of The Pine Belt News.