Auld Lang Syne

This time of year we often turn to thinking about the things of last year. What have we done, what have we not done. We make resolutions for the coming year and then this time next year we will once again look back and see all those things we have not done. New Years is a time of new beginnings. It is a time for us to throw out the old and make way for the new.

I am of Scottish ancestry and there is a tradition on New Years Eve of lighting a large bon fire. All of the people from the village will come out and gather around the bon fire right about 12 midnight. After the fire is lit, all of those gathered around will throw things into the fire. These things are mementos of those regrets that we might have from the previous year. As the fire consumes the regrets we are allowed to forget them and to move on to the New Year with no regrets. If it was only that easy.

Ninety percent of us will not hold to those resolutions we make. Many of us will forget about those resolutions before the 1st of February let alone the end of the year. So what is a resolution? The dictionary defines resolution as the act of resolving or of reducing to a simpler form. The state of being resolute, or the making of a resolve. Notice it says nothing about following through on those things that we resolve to do. That is the greatest challenge for us, to resolve to follow through on those resolutions we set on January 1st.

One of the best ways to keep to our resolutions is to be accountable to another person. If we hold one another accountable we are more apt to keep to what we say we are going to do. One of the reasons groups like Alcoholics Anonymous is so successful is the accountability factor of the group. Find another person whom you trust and make yourself accountable to them, and perhaps they will be accountable to you as well.

I have resolved this year to be a more spiritual person and I have asked my congregation to aid me in this. What are you doing this year? Make it count and try not to have any regrets to throw in the fire next New Years Eve.

This article originally appeared in The Tantasqua Town Common


  1. “If only it was that easy.” It’s impossibe that’s why I don’t make resolutions. Good article though. I’ll stick to something the Italians used to say, sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Especially when it comes to food.

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