If you’re anything like me, you’ve made resolutions to lose weight, do devotions daily, save more money, be nicer to your family, and have a home-cooked meal on the table every night by 5:30. While there’s nothing wrong with those resolutions, if you’re anything like me, you’ve already broken at least one of them—and we’re only a few days into the new year!
Why do we do this to ourselves year after year after year? Good question! Let’s take a look at the top resolutions people make, why we break them, and what we can do about it.
- Lose weight
- Exercise more
- Get organized
- Learn to speak a new language (or another skill)
- Save more money/spend less money
- Quit smoking/drinking/other addiction
- Read more
- Travel more
While there’s nothing wrong with any of those resolutions per se, chances are that they won’t stick longer than the time it takes for the list to float underneath the refrigerator.
Let’s think, instead of a different kind of resolution that is attainable. The writer of Hebrews encourages us to run the race of life well (even if we never sign up for a 5K):
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
Why Resolutions Fail
So, why do our best intentions at keeping our New Year’s resolutions—for sure this year—fail? They fail for several reasons:
- They’re too vague or broad (get healthier)
- They’re unrealistic (lose 50 pounds in a month)
- You don’t plan ahead (the pantry has more chips than carrots)
- They don’t include accountability and/or tracking (I can do this by myself)
- You’re afraid of failure and self-predict failure (I never keep my resolutions)
How to Make Resolutions Stick
- Make goals reasonable and achievable
- Make goals specific
- Make a plan and post your goals in a visible place; break your goals into smaller, actionable steps
- Include an accountability partner and/or a tracking mechanism
- Practice positive self-talk. Leave yourself visible reminders (on your bathroom mirror, steering wheel, phone lock screen)
Maybe trying different types of resolutions is the key to sticking to them. Here’s a helpful list.
Give Yourself Grace
These are all great ideas, but let’s be realistic here. We’ll all have days when we break our New Year’s resolutions—before breakfast even! So let’s learn to show ourselves a little grace.
Let’s resolve this year to let go of the mom/wife/friend guilt we carry around. Just think how much lighter we’d be without all of that extra baggage! When our healthy eating resolutions go out the window with the leftover Christmas fudge, simply resolve to make more healthy choices the next time.
When we hit the snooze alarm one too many times to complete our devotions before the kids clamor for breakfast, resolve to sneak in a little quiet time later in the day instead of giving up.
Let’s resolve that the occasional drive-through meal doesn’t mean the end of our homemade dinner resolutions.
As the apostle Paul reminds us:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
Don’t focus on numbers (on the scale, on social media, in your bank account). Focus on feeling better and doing better, not perfection.
Deal? I’m in for less personal guilt this year, how ’bout you?
Drop me a line and let me know what your resolutions are for this year, so I can pray for grace for you!