Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
I often relay to my students that nothing worthwhile in life comes easy. I also maintain this mindset when developing a character building strategy for my students. The goal of this strategy being that they may build a success story on the foundation of their own developed character. And Benjamin Franklin who wrote the above quote understood the importance of the virtue of resolution in attaining the rest of the virtues necessary to truly succeed in life. For there have been many who have had a great potential for success who fail because of the lack of firm resolve to do what it takes to succeed. And on the other hand there have certainly been those who at the onset of their journey have the odds stacked against them but still succeed because of an unquenchable desire to be successful.
Every New Year we hear of resolutions and the breaking of them seems to be just as cliché as the making of them. It seems to me that a lot of people look to a new calendar year as a benchmark moment for a fresh start. Furthermore, it seems that many of the infamous new year resolutions center around physical health; i.e., to lose weight, to exercise more, quit smoking, quit drinking, eat healthier etc. etc.. I will even venture to suggest that the failure of the aforementioned goals is because the motivation is predicated on temporal rather than eternal matters. For example, do we really feel a deep rooted obligation to maximize our potential or do we just wish that we will look better on the beach vacation that we are planning? The difference being one of physical vanity versus that of a moral obligation. And when our resolve is built upon temporary vanities rather than eternal morality how can we expect anything other than temporary results. And if the year 2020 taught us anything it is that we must be prepared for everything. And everything as we learned may also include unforeseen challenges that affect our whole being not just our physical self but also our mental and spiritual parts also. And if we remain unprepared these types of struggles have the potential to damage our self confidence, our relationships with others and even attack our Faith. To avoid this I feel that it is urgent that we use this new year to resolve to develop virtue within ourselves and let the physical goals become the byproduct of this foundation.
For many, this may be a significant change in approach and so let us make a step by step plan to accomplish the mindset of unwavering fortitude. The first step is we are going to set goals, daily goals, monthly goals, yearly goals, lifetime goals, physical goals, mental goals, spiritual goals, goals, goals, goals. We are going to pray about these goals, write these goals down and we are going to remind ourselves of these goals each and every day. Then it is important to surround ourselves with the right people to share in these goals and to build a support network to help accomplish our goals. Next we must simply have an uncompromising attitude that we will succeed and never let doubt enter your mind. For if you think you cannot do something then you more than likely will not be able to do that something. It is extremely important to believe that you can, so that, you can. This next step may require a lot of thought and mental focus but it will help to take the time to foresee many of the challenges you may face along your journey so as to prepare ahead of time how you may react when that time comes. I often mention that chance favors the prepared mind. I will add here chances are that if we are not prepared or do not have a moral foundation upon which we make difficult decisions then our human nature in its weakness will choose the easier and often wrong path. Part of developing resolve is deciding beforehand how you will handle tough moments and then stick to it. Another part of developing resolve which at first glance may seem contradictory to the last step is the ability to adjust our strategy along the way. This is a tricky step as we must be able to recognize when it is not our goal that is impossible but rather that we may be using the wrong strategy to accomplish the goal. This reminds me of a saying my uncle of Blessed memory used to say to me "do what you have always done and you will be what you have always been". We must be resolute enough to never give up and flexible enough to recognize when we must make necessary changes. The last step I will mention has to do really with the first step and that is to know our ultimate goal and to make smaller goals along the way that will make it possible for us to accomplish the destination that we have determined ourselves to be.
I will conclude by saying that although it is a popular notion to make new years resolutions and that there is no inherent danger in this but true resolve requires an every single day of the year approach. Not just a once a year commitment but rather a constant way of life. And I believe it is of the utmost importance to make this way of life to be built upon the foundation of living with virtue. Put another way, that our physical actions be determined by our spiritual resolve so that our mind may be at peace. Or as it says in Colossians: Set your mind on the things above, not the things of the earth.