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A resolution about resolutions

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Why do we want to be healthier? Why do we want to be wealthier? Why do we want to be more patient?

Erick
Rommel

If the Christmas decorations are not put away, it's just a matter of time. After Mass is over, presents unwrapped and holiday feasts devoured, the Christmas season becomes a distant memory, mere hours after its occurrence.

Soon, as is always the case, we're on to the next thing. In many cases, that's New Year's resolutions. We shift from getting gifts for others to finding gifts of self-improvement for ourselves.

Many people don't go beyond the stock resolutions. They want to be healthier, they want to be wealthier, they want to be more patient. They reflect and decide for one day that they will make an effort to do the thing they really should be doing year-round.

And then, New Year's becomes a distant memory, mere hours after its occurrence.

As moments of self-reflection, resolutions are great. As moments to fundamentally change our lives, more is needed. More than a moment; we need a philosophy.

Don't end with resolution making. Take it a step further. Ask yourself, "Why?"

"Why" is one of our smallest words, but also one of our most powerful. Just by asking the question, we're seeking an answer that's more than superficial.

Resolutions should be the start of a conversation, not the end.

Why do we want to be healthier? Why do we want to be wealthier? Why do we want to be more patient?

Often, we want to be healthier because we know something about the food we're eating is bad, or the exercise we don't do is wrong.

A desire for wealth, on the surface, seems greedy. The reason why is probably deeper. We want more challenges in our lives, and those challenges come with greater income. Or, we have goals we want to achieve that can only be reached with proper funding.

The same is true for patience. An impatient person can be a liability. One who is aware of his limitations, is, on some level, aware of why those limitations exist. Whether a desire to do more at a faster pace or a frustration at improvement taking too long to occur, the answer to the question "Why?" eliminates a liability and reveals a direction.

Life is about more than answering questions, however. Life is about taking action. Once you know the answer to the question, can you take it to the next level and apply what you've learned?

More important, what about those whose answers take them in a different direction? In high school, I had friends who were the center of my world. I couldn't imagine a life without them in it. Today, our contact -- if any -- is limited to social media comments.

The people we lose aren't people we meant to discard or hurt. They're people on their own journey. For a brief moment, they walked in parallel with us, and then our paths diverged.

I would not be the person I am today without them. They improved me and changed my path in ways I never could have imagined before we met. I am who I am today because of them. And now, for the most part, they are gone. We're casual acquaintances with an amazing past.

This occurs often in life. But, don't forget that gone doesn't mean forgotten. Those you separate from in high school may find you again after college or after you establish your career. Bonds never disappear; they just lay dormant until needed again.

That's why I share a resolution for you. Always be there for dormant friends. Why? Because we're better people when we believe what they meant to us today will still be true tomorrow.

This is a resolution to always hold. Don't let it become a distant memory, mere hours after its occurrence.

Erick Rommel is a columnist with the Catholic News Service.

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