Welcome to the New Year and a new decade! Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions yet? Oh, “what’s a New Year’s resolution?” you ask. It’s a “To Do” List for the first week of January!
Making New Year’s resolutions isn’t really new. The Babylonians tried it and later so did the Romans. In the medieval era the knights made them and, according to recent polls, 40% of Americans still do. However there is an 80% failure rate today.
Here are some reasons why resolutions don’t last:
- 1. Your resolution to change is either too vague or too broad or both.
- 2. Your timing for change is not realistic.
- 3. By focusing on fixing something that you perceive is wrong in your life, you’re operating out of fear. Fear of failing will not sustain you over time.
- 4. You don’t have an accountability structure to help sustain your change.
And the biggest reason, according to psychologists…
5. It’s your consciousness that needs to change before your behavior can.
What’s the solution? Just don’t bother making them, right? Or maybe there is a better way to go about making a change in your life. First, let’s deal with the consciousness. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” He then goes on to say just how we do that (12:3–15:13). It’s too long to quote it all here, but I encourage you to read it. It starts with humbly not thinking more highly of yourself than you ought (v. 3), goes on about loving your neighbor (13:8-10) and ends with trusting in Jesus, “so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (15:13).
And, so, that is the secret to fulfilling your New Year’s resolution— putting your faith in the power of the Holy Spirit to change you from within. Remember, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!” (II Corinthians 5:17).
So, go ahead, make that New Year’s resolution. But be specific. Start out small and make it measurable. Find a friend who can help you be accountable. Give yourself a due date. A good rule of thumb is that if you can sustain it for forty days (sounds Biblical, doesn’t it?), it will become a habit. Be positive. Think about enhancing a strength you have rather than trying to fix a weakness; or pick something you like to do to help accomplish your goal. And finally, remember, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).
Happy New Year!
Rich Pollock lives in Topsail Beach with his wife Julia. Both are active affiliates of Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel. Rich happily fills in at the pulpit when a guest minister is unable to lead us in Sunday worship.