It’s exactly 70 degrees outside right now.  I’m sitting by the pool with my mother and sister-in-law, watching my daughter chase her cousin around the pool—in hot pursuit of a nearly deflated pink balloon.

Not exactly the setting for the string of thoughts that have been bothering me for the past couple of weeks. Decidedly not the time to bring up, yet again, New Year’s resolutions. But here I am, bothered at the humiliating and discouraging thing I realized almost three weeks ago: I can’t think of a time when I’ve been the active agent of change in my own life.

I don’t mean to say I haven’t changed—that I’m in a perpetual static state, or that time and circumstance have had no effect on me. The thing that worries me is that I can’t think of a time when I set out to change and then, a year later, looked back to see it was accomplished.

This is problematic for me, as my entire belief system is based on the idea that we can change, and not just a gentle tweak here and there.  I believe that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I can overcome the world. Or, as Elder Henry B. Eyring puts it, that my very nature can be changed.

Supposedly, I believe that even if I’m prone to mood-swings I can become cheerful. That I can increase my faith. That I can be the kind of person who thinks about other people first; that I can stop eating when I’m full.

If I’m not committed enough to make these changes in my life, then there is the looming question of why, really, I’m committed to anything. Said differently, there is the question of what I really believe.

I just told my sister-in-law that I needed a quote about change. She acted like something profound was on the way. “Anybody can change,” she said. I rolled my eyes and she laughed. Easy for her to say. She has changed—and dramatically. Three years ago she was a very different person, but she laughs so easily now. I ask her how she did and it and she says, “I wrote it down.”

This hasn’t worked for me.

I pushed her further.  How did she do it?  “You can always trade up,” she says. When she started to make changes in her life there were immediate rewards that made it easier to keep making those changes.  Perhaps if the need for change in my life were more desperate? The same sister-in-law gained more than seventy pounds with both of her pregnancies, and I’m the one who is still fighting those lingering five? It’s easier to turn off a faucet than it is to stop the drip?

My mother-in-law concurs. When I tell her I’ve made a goal to exercise every year for the past decade, and as of today, the best I’ve ever accomplished was the three weeks before I got married, she says I’m not fat enough to exercise. I think she’s trying to make me feel better and I buy it. I’d like to believe that if the need for change were imminent, I’d do it.

But who I am kidding that the need isn’t imminent? Getting by, a general state of happiness—in this belief system of mine where the whole point is to close the gap between myself and God—it’s inadequate. Progress, however slow, is the marching order.

So this year (oh how do I say this without sounding like politician?),this year I resolve to believe in change.

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