January 06, 2017 at 6:00 AM
By Dan Breen
Are you a New Year’s resolution person? I’ve never been myself, but I suppose if you’re going to make some changes in your life, the new year is a natural place to start.
Unfortunately, if you do, you’re probably setting yourself up for failure.
That’s not just me being mean-spirited of unsupportive; it’s backed up by statistics from people who study this kind of stuff.
According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, about half of the American population makes some sort of New Year’s resolution. Losing weight tops that list, followed by getting organized and being more financially responsible. Working out, giving up cigarettes and spending more time with family are also in the top 10.
Any guesses what percent of people actually succeed in keeping their resolutions?
The study shows a quarter of resolutions are abandoned by the first week. About 40 percent are gone after one month. And the number of those who keep their resolutions for a full year: a whopping 8 percent.
I recently read a devotional which suggested a key to keeping resolutions might be to aim deeper. Instead of worldly resolutions geared toward selfish desires, this is the year we should make lasting spiritual resolutions: to trust God more, share his love with others and walk in a closer relationship with Him.
It all sounds good, but it’s hard to calculate in a tangible way. We can’t step on a scale and weigh our increased trust in God, neither can we strap on a pedometer to calculate how many steps we’ve taken with Christ. It’s almost like the Christian’s perfect resolution. No one will ever know if we’ve kept our resolutions or not. That, friends, is a sad way to live our spiritual lives.
We must count our blessings daily. Maybe that means journaling about your relationship with the Lord, or at least pausing in prayer at the end of every day and contemplate the unique ways the Lord has blessed your life in that day. It might mean taking a more active role in servanthood or volunteerism. I pray 2017 affords you the joy of witnessing to someone who has never before experienced a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Making these resolutions could bring rewards beyond any joy we’ve ever experienced. But it takes serious commitment. Without it, we become like the 92 percent who don’t keep their resolutions.
Let’s join together and resolve to become more Christlike followers in 2017 and people who daily count the blessings the Lord has given to us.