The tree is at the curb, the lights are put away, and a new year is here. It’s time to make some personal changes as well. Or is it? It’s estimated that 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions–and just 8 percent achieve what they set out to do. That makes for a lot of Americans who don’t want to change, know they can’t change, or give up on changing. What’s with us, people?
I, for one, always have good intentions in January but to start the year with a list of “I will”s seems too bandwagon. So I traditionally start to make my life changes during Lent, the season of preparation commemorating the forty days and forty nights before Jesus’ death and resurrection. I don’t want to mess with the Lord so I tend to stick with my “resolutions.” And it usually always works, probably because Sundays are not included in the forty-day count, meaning they’re cheat days. Every period of sacrifice, whether it be a diet or repentance, should include cheat days to give us sinners something to look forward to weekly before getting back on the wagon.
So what will my Lenten observances be: overall, being a better person, but this includes taking better care of my body (daily exercise and staying away from sweets and fats) and taking care of my soul by not losing my temper and by being kinder to others. If I can stick with that for Lent, I can usually carry it into the late spring and summer. Before I know it, I’ll have lost five pounds and become less stressed out.
There are no statistics I could find on how many keep their Lenten observances, but I’m guessing the number is a little higher than 8 percent, because when you’ve got the Big Guy watching over you, you are less likely to give up. Or at least that’s how I see it–plus cheat days are built in. God thinks of everything!