Ten New Year’s resolutions for an unexamined life

Life in the Postmodern Shift

December 18, 2019 | Opinion | Volume 23 Issue 22D
Troy Watson | Columnist
(Image by freestocks.org/Flickr.com)

10.  Accomplish more by scheduling longer and more frequent committee meetings.

9.   Make the world a better place by pointing out how everyone else needs to change.

8.   Spend more time getting angry at people online.

7.   Constantly download new shows, apps and games for my devices because screen time restores my soul.

6.   Spend more money on non-essential things. Consumerism is the path to happiness.

5.   Elevate my commitment level and zeal as a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. (Substitute any sports team for similar results.)

4.   Limit myself to people, news, podcasts and literature that reinforce what I already believe.

3.   Complain more often—and more loudly—about the same three things that really bother me.

2.   Double down on my conviction that I don’t need counselling or spiritual direction.

1.   Resist change that makes me uncomfortable. Never reflect on why it makes me uncomfortable.


Five New Year’s resolutions for an examined life

5.   Be a world-class listener.

  • Listen twice as much as I speak.
  • Listen to learn. Don’t just wait for my turn to talk.
  • Ask questions to understand another’s ideas, beliefs and opinions instead of sharing mine.

4.   Speak only truth.

  • Prayerfully pause before speaking, except with trusted friends where I safely let it flow.
  • Is what I’m saying or about to say true? Do I really believe this?
  • Have I researched the truth of this information, opinion or idea? Have I examined it in light of other perspectives? Am I being true to my higher self (who I am in Christ) if I say it?

3.   Always follow through on goals and commitments.

  • Give priority to short-term goals that are specific, measurable and attainable. There is no better motivation in life than the feeling of achieving a goal and making progress.
  • Make sacrifices and work my butt off to do what I said I would do, when I said I would do it.
  • Be discerning when setting goals and taking on new commitments. Am I prepared to sacrifice sleep, family time and other priorities to fulfill this commitment, if necessary?

2.   Do few things and do them well.

  • Focus on what I’ve already said “yes" to. Keep my “big yeses” in life as my top priorities. 
  • Don’t let the expectations and demands of others or the “tyranny of the urgent” displace my top priorities. Saying “no” and establishing healthy boundaries is how I honour the “yeses” I’ve already committed to.
  • Decrease the quantity of commitments, resolutions and goals in my life. Increase the quality of time, energy and creativity I bring to my priority commitments and goals.

1.   Be myself.

  • I must be brave and put myself out there. I will fail, make mistakes, be misunderstood, rejected, humiliated. That’s okay. That’s how I grow, get stronger and become my true self.
  • I must accept what I know to be true about myself (the good, the bad and the ugly), but regularly challenge and question what I and others assume to be true about myself.
  • I must seek to discover my full potential and higher self (who I am in Christ).
  • I must engage in the holy work of co-creating my “new self.” I’m not destined to be who I’ve always been. Every moment brings newness of life and opportunities to be “made new,” but I must be fully present to seize these opportunities. When I’m fully present, I tune into the Creative Spirit and join in the sacred work of co-creating my “new self” with my Creator.

Troy Watson is determined to live an “examined life” in 2020.

Read more Life in the Postmodern Shift columns:
Unlearning 'Christianese'
Credible Christians
Revolutionary hospitality
The divine flame
Two big surprises, two big questions

(Image by freestocks.org/Flickr.com)

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