The Perfect Picture

Worship services are held in the March Air Reserve Base Chapel each unit training assembly weekend. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Megan Just)

Worship services are held in the March Air Reserve Base Chapel each unit training assembly weekend. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Megan Just)

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF. -- Happy New Year! I trust you've made all your resolutions and you're sticking to Them...right? What? You've already quit? Here's an idea: think of the movie The Karate Kid. Do you recall the scene in which Mr. Miyagi instructs Ralph Macchio's character how to correctly trim a bonsai tree?

"Close eyes," the teacher says. "Trust. Concentrate. Think only tree. Make a perfect picture down to last pine needle. Wipe your mind clean. Everything but the tree. Nothing exists in whole world, only tree. You got it? Open eyes. Remember picture?"

"Yeah," the Kid replies.

"Make like picture. Just trust the picture."

"How do I know my picture's the right one?"

"If come from inside you, always the right one."

Now that's good New Year's wisdom.

To be honest, year after year, I consistently blew New Year's resolutions. January would roll around and I'd say to myself, "This year I'm getting back on track. This time I'm conquering the world!" I would then determine a whole slew of goals I wanted to achieve by the year's end and then set out in hot pursuit. How many did I actually accomplish? Hardly any! Why? I became sidetracked by all those goals! If Mr. Miyagi had known, he would have scolded, "Aaron-san, you didn't wipe your mind clean of everything except for the one resolution, the one perfect picture."
 
I also struggled because I frequently chose resolutions that weren't really mine to begin with. For example, a friend would tell me that his or her goal was to lose twenty pounds by end of the year. So what did I do? I, of course, made that my objective too-after all, who doesn't need to lose a little weight after the holidays? But, alas, the picture didn't come from inside me. To be sure, some people really need to lose weight and they've chosen their resolution wisely. For others, there's a better picture.

The key to keeping any resolution is by first making the right one. Maybe you want to accomplish more. Okay, then what is the one thing you see yourself doing that you weren't doing last year? Perhaps you'd like to acquire some new skills. Then what is that one ability you see yourself possessing by the year's end that you now lack? Maybe you have longer-term goals in mind for you and your family, say five or ten years from now. Think about it. What is the one achievement you need to make this year that gets you significantly closer to that goal? Can you identify it? Can you see it? No? Here's the fun part: close your eyes, trust, concentrate and make the perfect picture.

A wise man once said if it comes from inside you, then it's always the right picture. May your perfect picture become absolute reality this year. Good luck and God bless!