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Should I Even Bother Making Resolutions This Year?

Jan Stewart


Have you ever arrived to a gym parking lot that was oddly full? Then, inside the gym, the place was packed and all the machines were in use?

When this happened to me, I asked a friend who worked at the gym, “What’s going on?”

“Oh, it’s the New Year’s resolutions that people make to get in shape. Give it a month, and the place will look back to normal.”

Although I knew she was right — in February, parking and equipment wait times returned to normal — I didn’t love the prediction. On that January day, I happened to be at the indoor track because of my own resolution to walk three miles every day.

The Problem With Resolutions

Research suggests that approximately half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions, yet only 8 percent actually achieve them. Why is it so hard?

The problem is that New Year’s resolutions typically rely on your own human abilities. You resolve to try harder in areas where you’ve been stuck or haven’t had much success. You look to willpower, discipline, and internal motivation. You’re expecting that you can turn things around on your own.

So why bother? Is it really worth our time? Do resolutions really make our lives any better?

What Does the Bible Say About Resolutions?

While the Bible doesn’t use the English word “resolution,” it does cover the topic of positive change.

  • The Bible tells of God’s desire to do a work in us: “Create for me a pure heart, O God! Renew a resolute spirit within me! Do not reject me! Do not take your Holy Spirit away from me!” (Psalm 51:10-11, New English Translation).
  • The Bible shows that God wants us to make plans so that He can move us in a particular direction: “A person plans his course, but the LORD directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9, NET Bible).
  • The Bible tells of God’s new plan for each of us: “Don’t remember these earlier events; don’t recall these former events. Look, I am about to do something new” (Isaiah 43:18-19, NET Bible).

Overall, God’s plan for your life is that you would be conformed to — or look more like — Jesus. That requires a transformation of your heart and mind that leads to changes in your daily life.

Does God Want You to Make Resolutions?

Whether you make New Year's resolutions or not, the end of each year — the beginning of the next — is a great time for reflection.

Think about where you are spiritually, physically, relationally or monetarily, and invite God in. Ask Him what changes you need to make or what areas of your life you need to surrender, and ask Him for help. Whether you make official resolutions or not, the great news is, God gives you a Resolution-Completer — the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gives you a desire to change, and He brings about the change in your life.

Making resolutions is a great way to connect with friends and family who may not know Jesus to talk about desired changes and the hope for change in our lives.

Are making any resolutions this year? If so, leave a comment below.

Continue to consider resolutions:

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