It probably won’t surprise you that US News & World Report determined 88% of New Year’s resolutions fail by mid-February. It’s also no surprise that the most common resolution is weight loss.
Because resolutions have such a ridiculous failure rate we’re going to explore how to create Godly New Year’s resolutions you can successfully stick to.
We’ll look at one of the most important keys to successful New Year’s resolutions and then, resolution setting steps you’ve likely not considered.
If you’re ready to make this the year you see your resolutions through to completion, keep reading.
Determine Your “Why”
Before we dive into setting successful New Year’s resolutions we’ve got to explore something else – taking a Godly approach to your resolution setting. God wants everything we do to be in line with His will for our lives.
If you’re shaking your head and saying “I don’t know what God’s will is” or “how am I supposed to figure that out?”, don’t fret. God’s will for you is found in His Word.
Knowing what’s commanded in Scripture should be the “why” behind the resolutions you set.
Maybe weight loss is what you want your New Year’s resolution to be and you know God wants you to love your neighbor as yourself. Your why would be “loving your neighbor” if losing weight will allow you to better do that.
Maybe you’ve been wanting to go on a missions trip but know it’d be a struggle unless you’re in better shape. Then sharing the gospel and making disciples becomes your why, and losing weight, exercise, and/or eating better becomes your resolution.
Your reasons, the “why” behind any New Year’s resolutions you make, should be:
- grounded in God’s Word,
- flow from what He’s told us to do, &
- based on how He’s asked us to live
Failure Proof Resolutions
Making resolutions work requires sacrifice.
Serving the Lord also requires sacrifice. We have to trade our wants and desires for God’s and remember He’s in control, not us.
Each of us want to be better people, serve God more, love others better, be healthier, be, do, be, do…But failure is a guarantee if we’re attempting to “be” or “do” anything in our own power.
You can’t succeed or stick to your New Year’s resolutions if you’re doing them with your strength.
Paul mentioned a similar struggle in Romans 7:18. “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”
Your New Year’s resolutions will only work if you do what Paul said in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
That “him” who strengthens you is Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit living in you.
Now let’s weave some practical resolution setting tips into the above “why’s”.
Setting Successful Resolutions
You may be one of the millions of people who are determined to lose weight or improve your health in some way this year. Or maybe your ideas for New Year’s resolutions have nothing to do with health…that’s okay. Because regardless of what you want your New Year’s resolutions to be, these 8 things will still apply.
1. Spend time in prayer and God’s Word.
2. Know your why.
Your “what” might be losing weight, eating X number of vegetables, saving X percent, or any of the million trillion things you’re wanting to accomplish this New Year but, but, but – You’ve got to know your why.
- Why do you want to do whatever you’re considering as New Year’s resolutions?
What’s the “why” behind your what?
3. Believe in your power source.
You’ve got the power of Almighty God dwelling inside of you and with the Holy Spirit’s help, you can do anything God asks of you.
Relying on the Holy Spirit makes it easy to believe you’ll accomplish your New Year’s resolutions. After all, it’s His strength and not your own you’re depending on.
Just remember to set resolutions that honor God and aren’t made for selfish reasons.
An important side note...
Maybe you think God doesn’t care if you lose weight, eat more veggies, exercise 5 times per week or do any of the things you’re wanting to. I’d challenge you and say, He does.
Your body isn’t your own. You’ve been given it to steward, you’re just a caretaker.
It’s hard to do any of the many things God has planned for you if you’re tired, never feel good, or are struggling with chronic disease. The better you care for yourself, the better you’ll feel and the better you feel, the more you’ll be able to do.
God does care.
And while you might be dealing with a sickness or disease that’ll be with you until you get your new heavenly body, taking the best possible care of yourself will still leave you feeling better than if you didn’t.
4. Enjoy the process.
No matter what New Year’s resolutions you set, decide up front to enjoy the process. If you go into your resolutions with a negative grumpy attitude, you’ll never stick with it.
Instead, commit to having fun along the way and remembering your why’s.
5. Put in the work.
Nothing worth having ever comes easy. Commit to putting in whatever work your New Year’s resolutions require.
Maybe you’ve resolved to lose weight so you can go on a missions trip, play with your grandkids, volunteer at a local food bank, etc.
So, put in the work and don’t make excuses.
You are worth it and whatever God’s asked of you is worth it.
It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Do the needed work, one day at a time.
6. Keep track.
When making your New Year’s resolutions also note how you’ll track your progress. How you keep track will depend on the resolutions you’re setting.
Maybe you make a weekly appointment and check your progress every Saturday morning…
It’ll look different for each resolution you set, just be sure to keep track.
7. Social Support.
Sharing your New Year’s resolutions with others is a powerful motivator.
If you’re part of a Bible study group share your resolutions with each other. Then commit to praying for and checking in on each other.
Just be sure to share your what’s and your why’s with those in your life.
8. Keep it specific and relevant.
This last point has to do with how you set your New Year’s resolutions. Saying you’re going to “eat better” isn’t specific. Saying you’re going to save a million dollars isn’t relevant if you live on a fixed income.
Goals have to be specific.
- What exactly will you do?
- How will you do it?
- When will you do it?
They also have to be relevant aka something you actually can do. Because…
There’s one last important thing I want to leave you with as you’re setting New Year’s resolutions.
Your resolutions might involve changing the way you look or changing something about your life. And while these can be great New Year’s resolutions to set, you have to remember one very important thing.
Everything you and I do should be about bringing God glory.
As the Psalmist said in Psalm 115:1 “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!”
Remember this while you’re prayerfully considering what New Year’s resolutions you’ll set and why you’re setting them.
Until next time...
Thank You for new beginnings and this new year. I ask that You guide whoever’s reading this. Show them the resolutions You want set and why You want them set. Empower them each day so they’re able to successfully stick to each New Year’s resolution they make. Reveal Yourself to them as they’re working on their resolutions and help them glorify You in all they say and do. In Your name and for Your glory,