This hashtag #NewYearNewYou has been floating around the interwebs. I see it and giggle. I think about all the new people in the gym with their new gym clothes during January or about the new calendars and journals that people are carrying around.
So many people make resolutions every year. I being one of them. For many years it was “This year, I will lose weight, I will be healthier.” Or even, “this is the year, that I will go on at least 1 date.” (That did happen….maybe not in the best way, but I met that goal!)
It is 18 days into the new year, and some people may have abandoned their resolutions, or they have failed already. Goodness knows I have been guilty of that many times. Perhaps like me, you might have already missed a day or two on the read the bible in a year plan!
Instead of writing about my own resolutions, because they are very idealistic and a tad repetitive. Let’s talk about why making resolutions is actually a good thing. Because really it is important to draw a line in the sand and say, “No more, I resolve to change.”
Many people abandon the idea of making resolutions because they want to go against the grain, but resolutions have merit. Here is my take:
1. Resolutions require reflection.
As a teacher, especially English teacher, I reflect daily. I reflect on my own teaching, on what the students are learning, what I am learning. I am naturally a very self reflective person, sometimes to a fault. Sometimes, I fall down the rabbit hole of overthinking.
However, reflection is so vital for our living. It requires us to look back and examine what we have done well, what we could do better, maybe areas in our lives that we need help, maybe an area that we over look.
For example, if we didn’t ever reflect on our relationships, we could spend a lot of time thinking we are treating our friends well and not be. It is easy to ignore things and become complacent.
2. Resolutions require commitment.
My generation doesn’t like commitment, we don’t like to be tied down. We are not our parents, we like the freedom of being able to move out of a house and find another. We like being able to travel, we like a flexible lifestyle. Or maybe this is just me.
When we make a resolution we are saying that we are making a commitment to something. This sort of small practice of making commitments is good for us. If we can commit to not drinking soda for 3 months, maybe we can commit to a job for a least a year. Those small steps are good things.
Don’t get me wrong, making commitment in relationships is definitely different from giving up soda, but it is a small step towards the ideas of making commitments. (Perhaps it is the same practice as those who buy a pet before committing to the idea of having kids??)
3. Resolutions require actions.
For many years in my life, I was very passive about my physical health. I let life pass me by. When I began to take my health seriously, I had to take action in buying the right sort of foods, actually going to the gym and not just talking about it. (I write more about that here!)
Resolutions, most of the time mean that we are responsible to do something or not do something. That is an action, when we take that sort of action, other things in our lives change as a result.
When we sit back and let life happen to us, often we are unhappy with the result, angry and bitter and just whine a lot. However, one of the greatest thing about being human is that we have the power to take action in some way.
4. Resolutions require and result in mental strength
Something I learned as a beginning runner is that my body is more capable of what I ever thought it was. My trainer constantly was pushing me past what I thought my limits were. Even as I ran my 1st mile without stopping I realized that what wasn’t possible for me several months earlier was possible. I just had to get mental stronger to get there.
Many people say, “Oh, I don’t think I could ever do that.” or “I definitely don’t have the self-control for that.” Which is frustrating because they do, they actually just don’t have the desire or the drive to get there. But when we make resolutions, we start to begin to build that mental strength required for bigger things.
This translates to other things, hard jobs, difficult relationships, struggles in life. We have to have the mental ability to push through the mental roadblocks and keep going, because we don’t know our own strength.
Ultimately, I was able to run a half-marathon. It meant that a lot of times when I thought I would have to stop, the mental strength carried me through. That ability to say, “Nope, gotta keep going.”
5. Resolutions ultimately mean that it is possible to change.
When you are stuck in a rut, you need to know there is hope for change. When we are stuck in hard situations, we need to know that it is possible for things to be different. We need hope.
If we believe what the bible says we know that God ultimately gives us a picture of why resolutions can be significant. He didn’t leave us in our sin, he provided a way to freedom.
He provided a hope and an answer.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”(2 Cor. 5:17 ESV)
Even in the old testament God promised not to leave us as we were:
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26 ESV)
Every day I thank God that he hasn’t given up on me. Thank goodness that God isn’t finished with us yet! Thank goodness he hasn’t left us here, but is continually working to transform our hearts and minds.
Friends, let us look to Him to ultimately make a change in our hearts, because we are not without hope.
What resolutions have you made? Have you given up yet? What stops you from continuing? Where have you given up hope?
photo credit: miss604 via photopin cc