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Time to set new goals, work on old ones

Only 359 shopping days left until Christmas.

I don’t want to stress you out now.

By the way, there’s only 45 shopping days until Valentine’s Day.

Enough of that though. The only thing on most of our minds right now is counting down to 2005, which is now less than 24 hours away.

The new year is always a spectacular event to look forward to, unless of course, you’re making a mad, last-minute attempt to fulfill your unfulfilled 2004 New Year’s resolutions. Don’t feel bad. Just add them to your “to do” list for next year.

Heck, I’m still trying to complete a resolution I made in 2002 — to finish writing a novel — and a resolution from I don’t know how many years ago to be married by the time I’m 30 (I’m running seven years behind schedule on that one).

Oh yeah, there’s also the goal I made when I was 21 to have a Ph.D. by age 30. This New Year’s resolution (from 1989 mind you) will be about 10 years late, but what the heck, I say better late than never.

There was also that New Year’s resolution I made last year about losing weight. You know, one of those “I really mean it this time” resolutions that I’ve been carrying over for the past 14 years.

If this is any inspiration at all, I’m actually really good about fulfilling my New Year’s resolutions. They just don’t happen in my time, though. They happen in God’s time. He’s usually got his own plans for me and they hardly even follow a traditional calendar year.

I got a Christmas card from my friend Debra of Abilene, Texas, the other day and it really lifted me up. In it she wrote: “It’s good to hear how your writing life and school are going. How wonderful it is when one takes a scary step out to follow a dream and sees God open many doors.”

God has definitely opened doors for me to walk through in order to achieve my resolutions, my biggest aspirations.

When I got this card from Debra, I was reminded of how I almost let those newly opened doors close before I could walk through because I kept looking back and was afraid to move forward. Sometimes that’s the only thing that keeps us from fulfilling our New Year’s resolutions. We keep looking back. We’re afraid. In my case, I was afraid of failing.

Now I realize it’s this very fear that paralyzed my dreams for awhile and made me feel like a loser. And now I also realize why many of these doors didn’t open when I wanted them to years ago. I wasn’t ready to walk through them.

As you can see, many of our unfulfilled New Year’s resolutions are not really disappointments. They are works in progress, being carefully supervised by the one above.

Some resolutions will take less than a year to fulfill, some will take many years, but that’s OK. That’s no reason to toss them out the window and consider the year a waste. That’s no reason to stop making resolutions. When you allow things to be done in God’s time, no time is wasted.

I haven’t given up on my unfulfilled resolutions. I’m working on a book right now. I’m halfway to getting my master’s degree. I’m going to keep trying to lose weight, exercise and be healthy and I no longer have doubts that I’ll meet the right person someday.

I came across a beautiful prayer recently that said, “There are so many people that give up when things get tough, not knowing that the finish line is right in front of them, not aware that the big hurdle before them is the last major obstacle and that victory is right there ... within their grasp.”

I wish you all a happy new year. Feliz ano nuevo.

Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at:

[email protected]