Celebrating the New Year: Let's start anew in 2017

05 January 2017 21:29 in Qubes
Celebrating the New Year: Let's start anew in 2017

Ideas for making meaningful and reachable New Year Resolutions

Well, it's that time of the year again! Another new year and the swelling urge to make at least one or as much as several resolutions for the year since most other people appear to be doing so or just like to brag about it. Hey, it's a major trend for this time of the year and most likely you'd be asked by folks around you: "So, what's YOUR New Year resolution?"


But on the second thought, having one or more New Year resolutions can indeed be a worthy and reasonable effort to make truly positive change for the year rather than a mere 'jump on the wagon' thing to pretend, "Yea, I have one too," without being really serious about it.


So, let's briefly discuss and consider some factors that can help us think about and come up with New Year resolutions that are meaningful, reasonable and achievable. We must recognize, however, that realizing a resolution does require perseverance, steady practice and patience. The results will most likely be life-changing for the better as we will gain new confidence.


Consider weaknesses, strengths


To begin with, we first need to contemplate on our weaknesses and strengths, behaviors and habits that we either need to quit or build upon, as well as good deeds that we have to engage in and bad deeds that we should abandon. In other words, we need to be self-conscious in order to come up with decent resolutions.


Secondly, we need to decide whether we want to make a self-serving resolution or resolutions that would also serve the community at large, and if we can afford to make multiple resolutions that we believe we can accomplish.


Before we discuss suggestions for making decent, targeted and achievable New Year resolutions, let's briefly point out how making efforts toward improving the status of ourselves and our communities is encouraged and welcomed by God, the creator of the entire universe.


Amazing tips from the Almighty


In Islam's holy book of Qur'an, for instance, while God repeatedly suggests that it's never too late to make changes, regroup and return to His worthy path, He further makes it abundantly clear that He more than welcomes all those who repent or make even the slightest effort to make improvements. The Lord also insists in the Qur'an that belief in God must be accompanied by good deeds and that He would not change the fate of anyone unless they ACT to do so themselves, as stated in the following verse:


“God would not change a favor which He has granted to a people until they [make the effort to] change what is within themselves. Verily, God hears and knows everything.” [8:53]


Among many other verses of the Qur'an, the following verses of the very short chapter called '[the changing] Time,' brings home the point that patience is the key.


"Indeed, mankind is in detriment, except those who believe AND engage in good and urge one another to do what's just and call for patience." [103:2-3]


In other words, simple expression of belief does NOT do it. You must take ACTION to stand for justice and practice perseverance and patience. Doesn't it make sense, considering the fact that many of us fail to achieve our goals because we expect quick results?


Also consider the following guiding principles mentioned in the Qur'an:


- The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and [willingly] offer endowment and remain obedient to God and His Messenger. They are the ones God will have mercy upon. Indeed, God is Exalted in Might and Wise. [9:71]

- “O you who believe, remain God-wary and be with (join forces with) the truthful ones.” [9:119]

- And the servants of the Most Merciful One are those who walk on earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them [disrespectfully], they respond by [expression of] peace." [25:63]


The above verses also spell out that people of faith -- male or female -- should collaborate in remaining obedient to God, defend what's right, reject evil, establish prayer, engage in charity work, be truthful and sincere in their deeds, stay humble and peaceful when encountering people who try to accuse or defame them out of ignorance.


Be Specific, Realistic, Optimistic and NEVER Quit


Oh, by the way, deciding on a resolution the following tip may prove quite helpful as well:


-  Be specific and realistic. Don't make vague or wishful resolutions such as rooting out poverty or building a shelter if you win the lottery.

- Choose something of paramount importance to you and people around you. 

-  Have a plan of action for your resolution.

- Share your resolution with a friend or a loved one. This will make you accountable to someone other than yourself, and you're motivated by peer-support.

- Be sure to track your progress by regularly recording your accomplishments and failures.

- Remain optimistic and most importantly, NEVER quit due to instances of failure. Just regroup and try again.


Some Suggestions


OK, last but not least, here are some suggestions:


- Help out in a meaningful household choir at least once per month.

- Give a specific amount to a favorite charity per month or just help out a neighbor or colleague in need.

- Learn about a different faith or culture by reading or interacting with an informed source and build on the knowledge you gain in ways you deem most desirable according to existing circumstances.

- Abandon a bad habit or improve a good one in a measureable way.

- Visit or make regular contact with a relative or an old friend you haven't seen for a long time.


Good luck and have a wonderful year. Don't forget to wear your smile continuously.

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