My Take on New Years Resolutions

Referring to my previous post–a tongue-in-cheek list of resolutions–I’d like to explain how I do New Years resolutions. It is a pretty complicated procedure, so let me just sum it up:

I’ll break ’em, so I don’t make ’em.

I find it much more satisfying to list things that have been accomplished and back date them as resolutions. (Not an original idea.)

If you’d like the longer version, read on…

New Years resolutions take resolve. Can I commit to doing something for a year? Can I make it a habit? Can I use my effort, energy, stick-to-it-ness, determination and perseverance to keep with this resolution that I set?

Most of the time, I can hang in there for a while. The first day, the first week, even the first month. But then I start doing it because I have to. The joy has gone out of the resolution, and now I’m gritting my teeth.

And then one day, after one of those really hard weeks, I wake up and say: “I need a break. I’ll slip, just this one day. I deserve it.” I take the break and am back on the bandwagon the next day. But the record has been broken, so the next time I want to skip my resolution, it is easier. “Hey, I’ve already slipped once, another time won’t hurt.”

And that one slip becomes a slippery slope and in a few weeks, I’m thinking, “Now what was that resolution?”

And then the guilt sets in. I accuse myself of being a bad person. I can’t even stick with one little thing. Then I get discouraged and slip on other commitments I’ve made to myself. Then I feel guilty about those. The spiral downward is predictable and inevitable.

Who needs that?!

And really, the whole thing with resolutions is that it is your resolve, your effort, your perseverance to make it happen. If you succeed, you pat your own back.

I find it more freeing that when I am trying to persevere in doing something good, like a resolution, that I come to God and admit that I can’t do it. If I try to do it in my own strength, then I will fail miserably (i.e. the downward spiral). But if I ask God to help me, and rely on His resources and His power…well now, that’s a different story.

As I trust God, I find that I am pleasing Him because I trust Him, and not me.

And that is why I don’t resolve. Instead, I try to trust. (Not perfectly, but I try.)

Happy New Year!

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