How are you with New Year’s Resolutions? Some of us are keen, thoughtful resolution makers. Others of us rush in putting together a list out of the obligation of the season. Some of us guiltily make a list due to memories of repeated failures year after year. And a few have just given up the ritual completely.
I seldom make my resolutions before the New Year begins. A couple of weeks into the year as others are recounting their resolutions and mixture of success/failure, then I think, “Oh, yeah. I should make a few resolutions of my own.” I don’t think I am very original in my list. If I kept my lists, I think I would find that I repeat my goals pretty frequently. Since I have never kept a resolution the entire year, there is plenty of room to repeat.
Oh, wait. I take that back. There is one resolution that I made that I have kept for over twenty years. Ironically, it was not a New Year’s resolution, but one made in November — I would read the Bible through every year. I wonder why this one stuck? Let me come back to this thought.
True to form, I have yet to make my list for 2023. But I am now very thoughtful about the accumulation of unfulfilled resolutions. Most years I have listed exercise more and eat less and eat better.
I usually have good success for the first month or so. But then there is that occasion that should be celebrated that requires the breaking of the diet. Or a short stint visiting a friend when I feel uncomfortable asking them to modify the menus to suit my resolution.Once off the bandwagon, I didn’t get back to eating well.
Or I didn’t exercise as I wished because up north it was always too cold for my favorite exercise of walking. (At least that was my excuse.) The only time exercising stuck was when I got an exercise partner.
But this year promises to be different. Why? Because I got a bad health report in the last week of the semester. My doctor had been warning me that I needed to do something about diet and exercise. I was a borderline diabetic, he said. Well, the last report showed that I had crossed the border. 😣
So, even before the New Year, I began my change. It is not really a resolution. Rather it is a need. I am experiencing the consequences of unfulfilled resolutions year after year. These resolutions were based on fact. I needed to moderate my eating and start moving.
Which leads me back to reading the Bible through every year… I was confronted with my need for regular time in God’s Word that was apart from teaching and preaching prep. I was growing more and more knowledgeable about Scripture. If you asked a question, a Bible verse was always ready on my lips. But was I letting it do its work in my life? Just letting God speak to me and listening to His directions for me personally?
Just like my diet is no longer negotiable, I realized that my intake of the Word needed to change. I started to make this separate time a habit. Once a habit is established, it can become a part of you.
How about you? Do you see any areas where you need to build the right habit? The New Year provides a good opportunity for you to rearrange your schedule and plug in the discipline that should not be neglected. Don’t use the excuse that it is too late to make a resolution since the New Year is already underway. Any day is a good day to start doing the right things.
And getting a buddy can also be very helpful as I have found. Having others pray for you can be essential. I would invite you to pray for me as I adjust things to meet my body’s needs rather than my appetites and desires. I have spent a lifetime enjoying almost every food offered to me, including seconds. In addition to building the right habits, I need to break the old ones.
I hope you have a great year. New Year’s resolutions give us the chance to look into the mirror and see two or three things that we can do to become a better human being. May God bless us as we seek to grow in Christ-likeness by the work of His Spirit from one degree of glory to the next! (2 Corinthians 3:18)