Have you seen that episode of Seinfeld where George decides to “really do something” with his three months of summertime? He vows to read a book from beginning to end (in that order) and to learn to play Frisbee golf. Sure, if you recall, George wasn’t successful, nor were his goals that lofty, but maybe he had the right idea. You could actually proclaim this summer to be your very own “summer of George” too. Summer is the perfect time to set goals and to do your best to conquer them.
In January, there’s something special about the ball dropping in Times Square, about all the confetti, about old acquaintance being forgotten that makes you feel like you can make a clean break with the parts of your life you’re not crazy about and start anew. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, about 50 percent of the population makes resolutions each New Year.
The other half, I’m guessing, used to. Chances are, several months ago you made a New Year’s resolution or two. But, most likely, as summer approaches, you haven’t earned those washboard abs, finished writing that novel or finally quit that annoying habit—at least I haven’t. Not so surprisingly, The New York Times has reported that by July most people have broken their resolutions.
Life gets in the way of our good intentions and we sometimes abandon them all too quickly.
I know it probably sounds too idealistic, but as we approach 94 days of summer, what if you gave that resolution, whatever it was, a second try? Or what if you made a new one?
I propose that you join me in making a half-year’s resolution. Draw a line in the sand, literally or figuratively, and figure out what you’d like to change for the better.
Change is all around you; why not join in? Even the quickest glance at creation will remind you the Creator has orchestrated seasons with clear, distinct changes. God, it seems, has made it so change is both commonplace and remarkably beautiful. So, as the temperature rises this season, so could your best aspirations.
Sure, half-year’s resolutions won’t have all the hoopla surrounding them when compared to the New Year’s festivities, but it’s worth being reminded that you can start new changes anytime.
Take those fishermen mentioned in the Gospels. They didn’t wait until a special holiday to drop their nets and follow Jesus. They just did it because they knew it was what they were supposed to do.
Scripture reminds us that God makes all things new. God has given you both the agency and the freedom to go big, both to succeed and to fail. Don’t waste the time you’ve been given. Go for it. There’s a lot that will happen to you that will be out of your control, yet no matter how the year’s been so far, the second half of 2013 has a chance of being better than the first. Especially if you’re intentional about it.
Now, I know it’s trendy to claim you don’t make resolutions, and there is certainly danger in setting a goal, because that means you might not achieve it. However, a life without examination or improvement is especially dangerous.
If we’re going to make things better for ourselves and/or for others, we need objectives. We need aspirations. And we shouldn’t just abandon them.
Maybe God places a desire in your heart to do something that’s right because He wants it for you and it gives you another opportunity to honor Him. If your resolution is actually a good one, you probably should be doing it. You should probably go ahead and get in shape, chase your dream job, smoke or drink less, read your Bible more, pay off your debt, focus on your marriage and spend more time with your children.
Giving up on your goals is, in a way, like giving up on what you want most. It’s the equivalent of visiting a theme park and then inexplicably putting off riding your favorite ride till next time. Most people plan to do big things and along the way they just kind of defer their resolutions. They look at their ideas and say, “I’ll do that next time. Maybe next year.”
Living intentionally in pursuit of your dreams is surely more difficult, but if, by chance, you’ve heard Donald Miller speak during the past two years or so, you’ve heard him say the best stories are the ones with all sorts of insurmountable conflict.
Conflict will happen and get in the way of your resolution. Like the commercial used to say, life will come at you fast. But, pursue your goals. You’ll never be satisfied just thinking about them.
There’s still time. This year, you can still be happier about what your scale shows, start that stand-up comedy routine you’ve always dreamed of, kick that pesky addiction to the curb or do Lord knows what else. Don’t wait until the ball drops in Times Square to try to keep your resolution again. Start over now.
Make a half-year’s resolution. Make a plan, and then get moving. Make this your “summer of George.”
Jeremiah Massengale lives in Williamsburg, Ky. with his wife and kiddos. He teaches courses in communication arts at the University of the Cumberlands where he also advises the student newspaper. Occasionally, he enjoys writing about himself in third person. You can follow him on Twitter at jeremiahpm.