Resolved

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It’s late, and I’m typing this post on my laptop on a hotel bed in Vegas, trying to pull scattered thoughts together quickly so I can get plenty of sleep before we have to wake up and finish driving home tomorrow. Really, I just want to hit the pillow, but I promised myself I would write a post tonight and schedule it to publish Friday morning. Last week I spaced it (you probably noticed), what with driving and prepping for Christmas and then Christmas itself. I didn’t want to do that two weeks in a row.

Since it’s New Year’s Eve, I’ve got the hymn “Ring Out, Wild Bells” stuck in my head, the haunting minor key of the music so perfect for Tennyson’s words (hit the play button on the link to hear the tune). We only sing three of the stanzas at church, though, so I wasn’t familiar with all eight verses:

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

It reads like a prayer, doesn’t it? Like a plea: “Please, please, ring out the false, ring in the true.” Because it seems like even though we want all of this, it’s so hard to make it happen.

It’s hard just to get blog posts up on time, let alone resolving to adhere to “the nobler modes of life.”

I went back and read my post from last New Year’s Eve, and it’s amazing how one little life event — a baby — derailed most of my resolutions for 2010. Heck, it’s amazing how easily being on vacation this last week derailed my resolve to cut down on sugar (curse your tempting plates of cookies, sister!).

What does it take to make our resolves happen?

This may be one of those posts that calls for a follow-up soon, but first tell me what you think. When you follow through on your resolutions, what are the secrets to your success? How do you “ring out the old” and “ring in the new”? What are you resolved about for 2011, and how will you keep yourself resolved?

Leave a comment!

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5 responses »

  1. I’ve always been horrible at keeping resolutions. I make them up New Year’s Eve though, so I think perhaps my flaws lay more in planning processes and quick decisions rather than my ability to move forward. The changes that stick (for me) are the ones that come from lengthy, quite observance and the feeling of remorse for being in the wrong. It sometimes takes a lot for that sense of guilt to instil itself in my heart, but when it does, true change becomes not only a possibility, but reality.

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    • Yeah, I’ve sometimes been guilty of the last-minute resolutions, too, and I think you’re right. The years that I’ve had more success are when I already have things in mind that I’m working toward and writing them down on New Year’s Eve is just to formalize them. I don’t think guilt has to be part of it necessarily, though; those lengthy, quiet observations can stem just from a desire for something better! 😀

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  2. I’ve made the most progress on my resolutions when I break the big goal into smaller goals scheduled throughout the year. For example, instead of immediately trying to switch to an all vegetarian diet from a meat filled one, eat vegetarian two days a week from January to April, then up it to five between May and August, etc.

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    • Great point! I’ve been doing that diet-wise, too. For example, I wanted to decrease sugar in my diet, so I started out by switching my breakfast from cold cereal to instant oatmeal, then to regular oatmeal adding my own honey, until I finally learned to like oatmeal without sugar. Small steps are the way to go!

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