Resolutions vs. Aspirations

My pastor had an interesting aside this morning.  He talked briefly about the difference between making resolutions and having aspirations.  It is tradition to make New Year’s resolutions, which most of us fail to keep.

But aspirations are much more powerful, and in turn, they can empower resolutions.  Resolutions are specific individual goals, such as losing weight or taking up biking.  But aspirations are expressions of who we are as individuals; they are potentially life-altering directional desires or expectations.

For instance, I have an aspiration to communicate truth and be a voice of healing for the wounded church.  One resolution that stems from that aspiration is setting up this blog site.  In the longer view, resolutions stemming from that aspiration include getting a bachelor’s degree, so I can move on to the resolution of getting a doctorate, so I can move on to the resolution of passing the state boards and being certified to practice professionally as a psychologist in my state.  I have resolutions to one day teach at the university level, write books, and have a practice where Christians can get help the church is not equipped to offer (either through ignorance or deliberate neglect).

What I found especially interesting about this thought (aspirations vs resolutions) is that resolutions rooted in aspirations become steps that have the power to change your life.  Traditional resolutions are largely rootless or wishful.  They are things that would be nice to accomplish but are often not things to which we are deeply committed.  Aspirations (distinguished from dreams) are very specific life goals based in who we are and, hopefully for believers, in our relationship with God.