Happy New Year!
Did you make a New Year’s resolution? If you did, have you broken it yet? If you are reading this on New Year’s Day, there is a 99 percent chance you haven’t broken it yet, according to statistical data. If you are reading this at the end of January, there is a 40 percent chance you haven’t broken it yet. If you are reading this in July, well, there’s always next year! The truth is, we struggle with keeping resolutions.
It is reported that 45 percent of Americans engage in the annual ritual of making a New Year’s resolution. However, only 8 percent of those who make the commitment to something new actually achieve it. And do you want to guess what the number one resolution made by Americans might be? I’ll give you a hint. It is not to do an epic mannequin challenge, get better at your hoverboard moves or own a Hatchimal, as worthy as those pursuits might be. The pinnacle resolution is to lose weight. That goal has topped the list for many years running. Also featured among the top 10 resolutions are getting organized, spending less and falling in love.
Personally, I have mixed feelings about resolutions. Certainly the desire to work on areas of one’s life that need improvement is admirable. Making commitments like following God more closely, reading through the Bible or overcoming some sin are valuable endeavors that should be pursued. But why a NEW YEAR’S resolution? It’s a natural starting point. Perhaps we’ve done a little reflecting and would desire something new, so the dawn of a new year seems to be a perfect time for initiating the change. But is it?
The fact that the step you’re taking is a NEW YEAR’S resolution may actually suggest it is a lesser commitment rather than greater. That is because the commitment is driven by the calendar, not by conviction. A change that is made out of genuine conviction is a change that we must embrace immediately. If you’ve been persuaded by the Lord to remove a certain sin from your life, it makes no sense to say, “Yes, Lord, I’ll stop that sin beginning January 1.” Anything we are able to put off to some point in the future is a commitment to which we’re not very committed. That’s why so many NEW YEAR’S resolutions fail. The perfect time to make that resolution is the precise moment the conviction comes upon you.
So, is it wrong to make a New Year’s resolution? Absolutely not, if that is when the conviction to act strikes. But if you are moved to act on December 30 or April 5 or August 22, that would be the right time. The most important step is that we prayerfully listen to the Lord and respond the moment He calls. I pray that this year, for you and me, would be one filled with hearing from the Lord and responding — immediately.
Blessings on your 2017!