Better Person, Better Year – Part 1

Table of contents for Better Person, Better Year

  1. Better Person, Better Year – Part 1
  2. Better Person, Better Year – Part 2

Examining how to be a better person is a key factor in having the better year that you desire.

In addition to creating a definite plan of goals and dreams for this new year, realizing specific ways to become a better person is an essential part of making this year better than any year in the past!

I came across a list of New Year’s resolutions by Jonathon Edwards which focus on diligently improving his own person during the course of the year.  As his list was extremely detailed, 70 resolutions in all, I’m picking out some for us to focus on, keeping the original numbers with them, and then providing a link below to the full list for those who want to read it in its entirety.  Edwards, a famous person in American history (1703-1758), was considered an intellectual, philosopher, and theologian. He was president of Princeton University at his death.

As Jonathan Edward’s list of resolutions is in old English, I’m going to put the original quotes followed by a summary of my own in blue italicsThis post is Part 1 of a 2-Part post.

5. Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can. Time is such a valuable gift; as we cannot get back a single moment of time lost, it will benefit you this year to keep in the forefront of your mind to make the most of every moment, treating it as the thing of infinite value that it is.

6. Resolved, To live with all my might, while I do live.  Similar to valuing each moment, endeavor to use all of your best abilities and energies to live this life and enjoy living it.

7. Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life. This is a great way to improve one’s person. If you are faced with a choice and you are uneasy and wavering in your decision, think if it is something you would choose not to do if you only had one hour to live.

13. Resolved, To be endeavoring to find out fit objects of liberality and charity. It makes each of us a better person when we stay outward focused; keep an eye out throughout this year for opportunities to help the poor and less fortunate.

14. Resolved, Never to do any thing out of revenge.  Very to the point.  If you are considering any word or action out of vengeful feelings, stop; don’t follow through with it and get rid of those thoughts.

15. Resolved, Never to suffer the least motions of anger towards irrational beings. This is one of several that I have highlighted as a focus for this year, as irrational people are a particular source of irritation for me. What a good way to free oneself of countless negative feelings and thoughts this year by not wasting your energy with anger towards irrational people.

16. Resolved, Never to speak evil of any one, so that it shall tend to his dishonour, more or less, upon no account except for some real good. This is one of several which I was impressed with by the balanced view of “boundary setting” which we have frequently discussed on this site. Notice the balance and boundaries—he will not speak poorly of anyone for the purpose of slander or venting. He will only discuss someone in a negative light if it is a situation in which something actually needs to be dealt with, ie. constructive actions are being implemented.

17. Resolved, That I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.  Another of my favorites!  Like Dawna Markova’s themes, do not die having lived an unlived life.  Live now, every day as how you will wish you would have lived it when it comes to your dying day, as you would if looking back in retrospect on your life!

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20. Resolved, To maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.  This was of interest to me again for two reasons.  First, as Jonathon Edwards was a very spiritual man, it shows balance.  He knew it was also essential to his person to be disciplined in his food habits.  Second, it is interesting because, compared to the major cultural push we have now for health habits, this was an innovative concept to focus on in the 1700’s.

21. Resolved, Never to do any thing, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him. Another good point, not only for self improvement, but in lessening bitterness. In a negative situation with a person you cannot change, turn the focus on changing yourself!  Resolve never to do the despised behavior you have just seen take place in the other person.

I hope you are getting excited about becoming a better person and having the best year ever!  We’ll continue these resolutions in the next post, Part 2 of Better Person, Better Year.

To read the full list of 70 Resolutions by Jonathon Edwards, click here

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