My New Year Resolution
How have you began the new year? And have you set any new resolutions to observe and follow in the course of the year? Or have you long since given up on the idea of setting new resolutions after your previous ones backfired? As for me, never one to give up easily, I have set a new resolution to be getting out of bed at around 5.00am every morning come what may.
I had always been an early-riser during my primary and secondary school years and well into college. But beginning some time in 2008 when I was at the university in JKUAT, I defaulted on that good habit by getting out of bed late in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon. Since then, I have struggled to be an early-riser. Later on in this decade, I noted that I had trouble getting out of bed early in the morning if I went to bed in a bad mood the previous day.
Towards the end of 2017, I made a conscious decision to rise early everyday regardless of the mood I got into bed with the previous day. I succeeded in following that resolution for several months. But sometime in April or May 2018, I stopped getting out of bed early in the morning after I felt sick in the head for several days. After that, I was unable to summon the will to rise early again.
And you know what? In 2018 when I reverted to the bad habit of getting out of bed late in the morning, I made a startling discovery that with the bad habit came guilt feelings in my soul. And on most times, no amount of positive self-talk could wipe out the guilt feelings from my soul. That discovery is what has led me to set a new resolution of rising early every day at around 5.00am come rain, come sunshine.
Today, I effortlessly sprang out of bed as per my new resolution. And that's a great way to start the year. But in the course of 2019, God forbid, I may be confronted with mornings when the temptation to stay in between the sheets will be too much. I have resolved to overcome that temptation with all the might I can summon. And that will be an effective way of developing virtue because as someone said, character is the discipline to follow through with resolutions long after the excitement in which they were made has passed.
Already, I have asked God to help me should I be tempted to stay in bed after 5.00am by singing to Him the following verse from a favourite hymn of mine:
As I set the new resolution to rise before dawn each day of this year and as I ask God for His help in implementing that resolution, I have Dad as my role model because he always gets out of bed early every morning regardless of how his previous day was or how his night has been. Besides instilling me with a learning spirit, early-rising is another trait I have come to admire in Dad; one that I desire to also be part of me and which I plan to pass on to my children if I ever get lucky to have some.
Break temptation's fatal power,
Shielding [me] with guardian care,
Safe in every careless hour,
Safe from sloth and sensual snare;
Thou my Saviour,
Still my failing strength repair.
I believe once I succeed in rising early each day of this year, I will permanently develop that virtous habit of springing out of bed before dawn for the rest of my life. (Don't they say it takes 21 days to develop a habit?) And when I hit 81 years, God willing, I will look back on my life with pride and proclaim, as Thomas Jefferson once did, that the Sun has not found me in bed for the past 50 years. So help me God.
If you've enjoyed this story of mine on my new year resolution, you might also enjoy another one I wrote sometimes back on "Bliss. Strength. Love. Peace." Just click on that link in blue to dive into the story.
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31 Lessons Learnt As I Turn 31
Whoopee! It's my birthday today; I am turning 31! I can't believe more than 18 years have passed since the late '90s when I used to celebrate my birthday by baking cakes with my siblings late into the night as we ushered the New Year. Time flies for shizzle.
And because time flies, I have resolved to make the most of every day so that another 19 years don't fly by and I turn 50 without having achieved much in life. So as from today, I am back to my routine of waking up before dawn every day - come rain, come sunshine.
Today, unlike in the '90s when I used to bake cakes, I won't feast on any special meal or host a party in my den to celebrate my birthday. Instead, I will reflect on the following 31 lessons I have learnt in life as I turn 31:
- Rising early is the key not only to personal effectiveness but also to peace of mind.
- Greet each day with a smile and be grateful for it.
- I am a late-bloomer and there is nothing wrong with that because, as Sharon Olds said, anyone who blooms at all is very lucky.
- Things are not always as easy as some people put it.
- Nobody gets it right the first time (maybe apart from geniuses of whom there are too few).
- No one is perfect. Everybody makes mistakes, so try to profit from yours.
- Praying helps. God exists.
- Man hatches plans in his mind but it's the Lord's will that prevails.
- It's not good to have zeal without knowledge.
- Having knowledge, wisdom and insight saves time, energy and money.
- A wise person takes pleasure in understanding but a fool delights in airing his own opinions.
- The Bible is not a piously stuffy tome but an inspiring manual with scientific procedure for successful living.
- Everybody's path in life is different.
- Stop worrying and trust divine providence.
- Avoid comparing yourself with others. It's because we are different that each of us is special.
- People who say hurtful things are themselves hurting
- There will always be haters and harsh critics as we journey in life. Let them not disturb your peace.
- Be kind because the people you meet could be fighting tough battles you know nothing about.
- Be assertive at times.
- People can't just be judged by their worst or weakest moment.
- Read the best books. Interact with high-achieving individuals. But learn to be happy alone.
- Mind your business. Run your own race.
- Trust your intuition.
- Don't trust your memory. Write the idea down as soon as it pops up in the mind.
- Count your blessings regularly as an anti-dote to the blues and the negative thoughts that keeping on popping up in the mind.
- Be prepared.
- Whatever is worth doing takes longer to achieve than you think.
- Not all rich people are successful
- He who refreshes others will refresh himself as well.
- People are different. Like some are helpful; others are not.
- Life is like that - incomprehensible and full of surprises.