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Was Your New Year's Resolution a Hummer or a Buick?

01/11/2013 11:26 am ET | Updated Mar 13, 2013

We are less than half way through the month of January, and I wonder how we are doing with achieving and keeping our New Year's resolutions. In general, a New Year's resolution is a decision one makes to reform old habits or achieve new goals. Many times one's success in fulfilling his or her New Year's resolution(s) depends on the nature of the resolution and the determination of the person making the resolution.

If the resolution is worthy of being achieved, many times it takes a great deal of determination to reach and maintain the resolution's main goal. Sometimes failure of sustaining one's New Year's resolution stems from the fact that the resolution had no real basis for longevity.

I ask this question: Was your New Year's resolution a "Hummer" or a "Buick"? I could have used other automobiles as my objects of comparison, but since both the Hummer and the Buick are cars associated with General Motors, I chose to use them.

Although the Hummer actually originated with the military in the 1940s, in 1991 the civilian version of the Hummer was launched to the public via the Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalog. Along with other expensive gifts, his and her Hummers were offered. Shortly after, they were available to the general public.

Hummers were all the rage. They were "head-turners," with intimidating size and bulk. People loved them or hated them. Hummers were billboards for American excess and our love of the gas-guzzler. The Hummer had a quick rise to stardom. The widespread use in the Persian Gulf War of the military Hummer helped inspire the civilian Hummer's automotive mystique. But now the Hummer is gone. Why?

One could argue that the Hummer was a brand that was mismanaged. But a more realistic explanation is that the Hummer was riding a trend. But trends come, and trends go. As Americans began to be more fuel-conscious, as military vehicles became less popular, and as "excess" was increasingly talked about and frowned upon worldwide, the trend the Hummer was riding faded into the sunset. The Hummer rode a trend while the riding was good. There's nothing wrong with riding a trend if one realizes that is what is happening and is able to adjust to the new conditions when the trend is gone. The Hummer, due to its very nature, was unable to make the needed adjustments.

The Buick, on the other hand, is among the oldest automobile brands in the world, dating back to 1899. It is the oldest American automotive make still in production, with a long history of innovation and change that were necessary for its survival. These changes focused on overall design and manufacturing innovations, including such things as the first automobile to have a closed body, to have the shift lever mounted to the steering column, to have turn signals, and on the list goes of various advancements in motor and transmission combinations, to mention only a few, as well as changing body deigns in model after model, year in and year out.

Buick, unlike the Hummer, did not just ride trends. Buick certainly paid heed to popular trends, but was always looking ahead to make whatever changes were necessary to stay in business after the trends were no longer in vogue. When sales slipped, Buick looked for the reasons and introduced new designs and models to meet the general moods and desires of its prospective customers.

So I ask you, was your New Year's resolution a Hummer or a Buick?

Jesus hit the nail on the head when he referred to "a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock" and to "a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell" (Matthew 7:24-27). Life is full of various kinds of storms, and whether you are able to withstand the winds and floods of life depends on the basic principles, aspirations, and goals upon which your life is built.

That tells us a lot about the kind of New Year's resolutions that are worthy enough to stand the test of time. New Year's resolutions can be very important when one thinks carefully about what he or she wants out of life. It's not too late to think carefully about your life and decide what attitudes and habits you want (or need) to change and the new directions you want (or need) your life to take and to devote 2013 to making those resolutions become realities, enabling your life to withstand the test of time.

I don't know about you, but my resolutions are all going to be Buicks!