The Advice I Follow: ‘Conquer by Continuing’

By James Smith
UCF Forum columnist

Even though they have the best of intentions, about this time of year many people start setting aside their New Year’s resolutions – if they haven’t already.

Do you have any left or have they all been abandoned for another try in 2018?

For me, there are the usual resolutions of losing weight, eating better, spending more time with the family, helping others more, cleaning out the garage, landscaping around the house, renovating the kitchen, etc.

To help me try to be successful and accomplish my goals, I keep in mind a simple quote by Scottish minister and hymnist George Matheson: “We conquer by continuing.” This direct approach by Matheson, who lived from 1842 to 1906, can be an encouragement for each of us.

This year, I decided to follow through with two resolutions that have eluded me for years.

On the health front, I want to lose weight and start eating better. To accomplish this, I have purchased a wearable device that tracks my activities and have started the logging process of exercise and daily life, including my food intake.

The other resolution is to learn a new language. The Hebrew and Greek languages have long fascinated me, so this year I am resolved to learn a Greek word every day with the help of a desktop calendar that focuses on Greek word studies. My goal is to learn enough Greek to start reading more of the original Greek texts from the early Christian church and expand my overall understanding of that particular period of time.

There are other benefits of keeping resolutions.

I hope to develop new habits for daily reading, study and other routines. Working on better time management can have a positive effect on other areas of your life that you may not realize. And eating better leads to exercise, which then leads to wanting to get more/better sleep.

If you feel better and have more energy, those long-lost “honey do” list projects seem achievable. Can I complete my “honey do” list in 2017? Only time will tell.

As we move deeper into 2017, I hope your resolutions are still intact and you are making progress on accomplishing the goals you have set for the year.

Keep George Matheson’s quote about perseverance in mind.

The Scotsman attended Glasgow Academy and the University of Glasgow, where he graduated first in classics, logic and philosophy. Then at age 20, he became blind, but persevered to enter the ministry. He dedicated the remainder of his life to theological and historical studies.

So, whatever you have resolved to accomplish, just like Matheson you can conquer by continuing.

Jim Smith is assistant director of the UCF Valencia Osceola Campus. He can be reached at

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