Usually after the first few weeks in January, New Year’s resolutions are broken. A University of Scranton study cited in Forbes said that only 8% of New Year’s resolutions are kept. Many people just wander through life and have quit making resolutions (more than 50% do not make them). Some do not set goals for the New Year (or even at other times) because they find they can’t keep them.

A softer way to view resolutions is to treat them as goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound is what we are taught in my workplace. Recently we were given links to something even better: HARD goals.  Here is a summary:

  • Many people fail to achieve the goals they set for themselves.
  • Often, their objectives are relatively easy goals that do not engage them or challenge them to work hard.
    • Instead, set “HARD Goals” that are “heartfelt, animated, required and difficult.”
    • Heartfelt goals engage the emotions.
    • Animated goals are objectives you can visualize and remember.
    • Required goals outline absolutely essential achievements.
    • Difficult goals force people to work diligently to attain them.
    • When you plan a goal, set a firm target date.
    • Create sequential mileposts listing what you must do to attain your goal.
    • The most important marker is what you will do today to reach your goal.

The above-linked articles mention some tips for keeping your resolutions. Having the flexibility to see them as goals, people can be satisfied with getting angry less often or getting partially out of debt, etc. But if you don’t aim at the moon, you may never get off the ground.

For years I have tried to follow the Covey method of time management, prioritizing activities and setting goals for each role in my life, while taking time to “sharpen the saw.” I try to ride my bicycle in the basement on a magnetic trainer at least twice a week while reading good books, usually non-fiction ones, getting physical and mental/spiritual done at the same time.

Again this year I have several good books to read, including one on taming the tongue, an Antonin Scalia memoir by son Christopher Scalia and former Scalia Supreme Court clerk Edward Whelan, and “Telling it Slant”, which has some great ideas about writing creative non-fiction. I plan to use several of its ideas in 2018. Hopefully people will see an improvement in my writing skill. I realize some people don’t like the content of my writing. Many of my Patch critics complain that my articles are poorly written, while others like them.

2018 is pretty unique. With all the turmoil in the world and the surprise changing of political leaders in the USA, it’s either morning in America or mourning in America. So people are looking forward to the New Year with joy, dread or cautious anticipation. It is quite likely that the earth will continue to safely turn, however, just like it did in 2017, and probably things will settle down to some middle ground politically.

People love to watch videos; there are many on YouTube. Here’s a review of the year 2017 for those who enjoyed the similar Jib-Jab political satires which attracted news articles that described Jib-Jab skewering both sides with equal-opportunity satire.  Here’s a 2016 campaign video, a Donald Trump parody from May 3, 2016 and the 2016 year-end video. If you watch to the end of the videos, another similar one will queue up. If you missed buying all the gifts you wanted this Christmas, here’s a train set to consider purchasing. Here’s the promotional video describing it.

Speaking of trains, an amazing miniature creation is in Hamburg, Germany’s warehouse district at Miniatur Wunderland, located on 1300 square meters of space with 200,000 “people” and 900 trains with 12,000 cars. The longest train is 14.5 meters long. You can visit Scandinavia, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, see cruise ships on the 13,000 liter North Sea, tour France and England, see the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas in the USA and parts of Africa. A “day” lasts 50 minutes, then the night life of the various regions starts. Here is their official 5 minute video of the imaginary city of Knöffingen, which has an airport with 40 operational planes, built at a cost of 3.5 million Euros. 260 employees monitor the operations and create new locations for future attractions at this most popular tourist venue in Hamburg, with over a million visitors each year.


Maybe your New Year’s resolution is to spend less time surfing the internet (watching longer than the links in the previous paragraph, for example) or on social media. Face it, Facebook is a juggernaut and doesn’t need you. An overdose of social media will probably have a negative effect on you beyond Facebook’s liberal bias. High use of social media has been shown in numerous studies cited by the U.S. National Instututes of Health to correlate with depression, low self esteem, and even internet addiction.

On December 31, 2017, we again sang at our church this new song to the classic familiar tune of “Auld Lang Syne.” Written by Dustin Kensrue and arranged by Kings Kaleidoscope, here is an article describing the writing of the song. Click on this link to see and hear it performed at Reality Vancouver Church in Canada.

Should nothing of our efforts stand, no legacy survive
Unless the Lord does raise the house, In vain its builders strive

To you who boast tomorrow’s gain, tell me what is your life
A mist that vanishes at dawn, all glory be to Christ!


All glory be to Christ our King!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing,
All glory be to Christ!

His will be done, His kingdom come, on earth as is above
Who is Himself our daily bread, praise Him the Lord of love.

Let living water satisfy the thirsty without price
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, all glory be to Christ! (chorus)


When on the day the great I Am, the faithful and the true
The Lamb who was for sinners slain, is making all things new.

Behold our God shall live with us and be our steadfast light
And we shall ere his people be, all glory be to Christ! (chorus)

This most familiar of tunes has new lyrics filled with Biblical allusions. I’ve been working to add it to the list of hymns I know by heart.

The first verse alludes to Psalm 127. King Solomon wrote that “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” Here is a commentary by British theologian Matthew Henry (1662-1714) on this psalm.

The second verse has part of the prayer Jesus taught His disciples to pray in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
 Give us this day our daily bread.
 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

The third verse has several allusions to Revelation, the final book of the Bible.  In Chapter 5, the elders in heaven fell down and worshipped, and thousands of angels said with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain…” And then in Revelation 21, the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, came down from heaven, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And the Apostle John (in his vision) heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ““Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

We sang it at our New Year’s Eve Party as the calendar rolled from 2015 to 2016, the seventh to eighth day of Christmas 2015. Here is an article about the history and hidden meaning of The Twelve Days of Christmas, and the Snopes fact check of it. Though no one can prove it one way or the other, chances are good that the biblical allusions were added after the song was written. Here’s a snarky article about this on Patheos from someone who doesn’t even like the song.

Last year I met my goal to learn all three verses of All glory be to Christ our King! by the end of January, since I didn’t make it by Epiphany. This holiday traditionally marks the visit of the Wise Men on the 12th day after Christmas. Orthodox churches around the world still celebrate Christmas on January 6 or 7. Click on the link above to learn more about the Wise Men, who visited a toddler, not a baby like the shepherds did.

The next article in this series will focus on concrete ways to follow through on your resolutions, giving practical advice for breaking a bad habit or starting a new good habit.

Other articles

In previous blog posts, I began telling the story of my brain tumor and the depression which followed it. The second article in the series described my faith in God which sustained me through both trials.

Having recently started a word-by-word translation of Martin Luther’s Bible from German to English, I introduced the project and published Matthew Chapter 1 . Later I wrote commentary on it; my church background and theological training is in my USA Melting Pot bio.

Dale Murrish writes on history, travel, technology, religion and politics for the Troy Patch and USA Melting Pot club. You can help this non-profit club by making your Amazon purchases through the link on the left side of their website. You can also see over a dozen ethnic presentations from people with firsthand knowledge under Culture & Country (right hand side), and outdoor presentations (Hobby & Fun), including posts on bicycling, skiing and camping.

Other interesting articles on the USA Melting Pot website have been written by Bilal Rathur on his hajj to Saudi Arabia (Part 6) and by Carl Petersen. Thanks to both of them for their contributions.