On New Year’s Resolutions, by S. N. Smith, Ottawa

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On New Year’s Resolutions, by S. N. Smith, Ottawa

I was asked to write a brief article on new year’s resolutions. Now I
have to be honest and state that I have never made a new year’s
resolution in my entire life, for the simple reason that I don’t trust
myself to keep them. I am well aware of my own weaknesses and making a
resolution, I fear, sets me up for failure.

Exercise and diet  companies make a lot of money in January from people who desire to get
into shape or lose a few pounds, but these companies know that people
have weak resolve and thus force them to sign longer term contracts.

Most people resolve to do a lot of things some time in their lives,
but they fall short of what they intend to do and eventually give up.
We can lament over this and say we should do better, but the reality
of who and what we are as a species is that we give up quite easily.
We exhibit laziness and opt for short-term pleasure at the expense of
long-term benefit. This is not necessarily a sinful thing, although it
could lead a person in that direction, but merely a statement
regarding the human condition.

Read again Surah Nisa 4:28 where Allah says: “And Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties];and humankind was created weak.”

We are weak in that we give up and get discouraged too easily, some
more than others. We resolve to pray more, read Quran more, be a
better spouse, be more charitable, be a better employee or student, be
a better neighbour or just be an overall better person in all aspects
of our lives. At first we may do well, but eventually we slip back
into our old behaviors, because what Allah says of us is true.

Now I am not one to preach to others about having ambition or firm
resolution, and the reader would do well to look to another example of
perseverance and fortitude when seeking to achieve something
worthwhile. Fortunately for the Muslim there is such an example that
they all aspire to emulate in the lived example of Prophet Muhammad
(pbuh). No one can deny that he (pbuh) confronted a lot of hardship in
life yet he (pbuh) was successful in his (pbuh) mission. Studying his
(pbuh) life in detail is a study in resolve.

But the believer needs something more than this if they wish to
achieve what they set out to do. What is needed is the company of like
minded people who are seeking to achieve similar things. It is within
a group context that the individual finds strength and encouragement.
Without this group support failure is almost certain, while with it
success, although not guaranteed, is certainly more easily attained.
Which do you prefer, almost certain failure, or a good chance of
success?

This means, my dear readers, that we are in need of one another and
cannot attain our full potential as a fully actualized human being
unless we support one another in our endeavors. As long as we remain
in isolation from one another we will fall short of what we want to do
in life.

So here, in my closing words, I want to say one thing about new years
resolutions: By all means make them if you feel it is important, but
don’t try to go it alone. Find someone, or a group of people, who
shares your passion and goals and allow that to be the source of your
motivation and inspiration.

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