It's so easy to be caught up in the moment, to see somewhere you'd like to go and step towards it without a second thought. Spontaneity can be useful, however, it clearly has its limits, for example, consider New Year's resolutions.
Both our experiences and statistics would suggest that we rarely feel we have delivered on our resolutions. I must say I don't find myself compelled to lay down resolutions of my own each year, perhaps it is because of this unfortunate likelihood of failure.
From my experience and perspective as somewhat of an outsider, I'd like to suggest that spontaneity could be crippling your new year's resolution?
Spontaneity, by its definition is doing something without it being planned. While a spontaneous resolution sounds almost absurd, it may not be so far from the truth. To begin with, consider the case where there is an activity, such as running and we'd like to do it a certain amount in the year ahead.
While not a bad target, it is a poor goal by itself, so if we've decided we want to go running every second day next year, we should stop and consider why, we want to do that. If it's simply because our neighbour down the road does it and it seems cool, then this may well be a spontaneous resolution.
The question of why we want to do something suggest a useful model for making resolutions; A resolution comes in three parts: reasons, goals and targets. In contrast to the spontaneously resolution, perhaps I am concerned that my health is adversely effected by my poor level of fitness.
Therefore I am aiming to restore my fitness to a healthy level and to achieve this goal I'm going to layout a plan involving running every second day.
By answering these three parts of a resolution we can ensure that we have a target of what we will do to achieve our goal and our reasons for setting that goal in the first place.
Another bastion of spontaneity may still be found in goals. Clearly not all goals can coexist, so it is important to take a look at what other goals you have and how pursuing one goal might effect reaching another.
It may be that you can select targets that support multiple goals but equally so some targets may be counter productive to reaching other goals.
Before making that resolution for this new year take some time to think about why you want to achieve that goal and the tangible actions you can take to reach it. Don't make it a spontaneous decision which you will forget about in less than a months time!
Instead consider where theses targets and goals are taking you and set yourself up for a chance at achieving what you've set out to do. And an opening of the Scriptures soon reveals that resolutions are indeed part of the human experience.
Sam Gillespie is a composer and a computer programmer based in Sydney.
Sam Gillespie's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/sam-gillespie.html