The Nature of Resolutions

I've decided that for me resolutions are similar to giving things up for Lent: doomed to failure.

I recently watched the movie The Way, about a guy grappling with his son's sudden death by completing a quest that his son had wanted to accomplish. Now here is a seemingly impossible task (the man is ill-equipped in ways too numerous to mention, never mind the spoilers) that is in fact quite doable because of one thing: he is highly motivated and begins right away. 

That is my problem with resolutions and giving things up for Lent (is there a name for this? A penance? Something more specific? I should know this, but Google doesn't either): it is a directive that comes from "on high" rather than from within and so has little staying power. Why, if I am thinking about doing something, say training for a marathon or giving up a vice or being kind to animals or whatever, would I be any more likely to do it if I begin on January 1 (or March 5, Ash Wednesday next year) than if I begin today? 

If it's SO important to me, then I should--and will--begin today, right this very minute. And if it is not? Then it goes in the same bin as Never eat chocolate again, Stop with the sarcasm, and Single-handedly save the polar bears before they all drown. My resolution, my never-give-up, my plan today and every day: Do my best, leave the rest.

Polar bear not in favor of global warming from Wikimedia Commons

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