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New Year’s Resolutions – How We Can Make Them Work

What better time for a new start? Christmas, with all its overindulgences, is over, and a whole new year stretches out before us, clean and unspoiled, full of potential and ripe with promise. This is going to be the year in which we lose some weight, be more organised, manage our money better, or spend more time with family.

Then reality hits. The reality of saying ‘no’ to those tempting chocolates, getting out of bed to exercise on cold, wet mornings, discovering we have the same demands on our time that we always had.

Why do so many new year’s resolutions fail? In most cases, they are noble and worthwhile goals, things that are perfectly legitimate and right. Maybe the goal was unrealistic. Someone whose only exercise consists of taking out the wheelie bin isn’t likely to suddenly be able to run ten miles every day. Maybe there was a lack of planning. Managing finances requires a budget, which doesn’t happen on its own. Maybe there was insufficient motivation, or we hit discouragement. Maybe we work on spending time with family and all they do is bicker and argue. What’s the use? we might ask.

We don’t need to check statistics to understand that people who make resolutions are more likely to meet their goals than those who never make any resolutions at all! Don’t forget that it’s perfectly acceptable to set goals throughout the year as well, but for those who have resolutions primed and ready to release on 1st January, here are a few things to take into account.

  • Make sure your goal is worthwhile. Those of us who are believers in the Lord Jesus should aim to live for Him, and so all our goals must find their focus in this larger goal. Don’t waste time and effort on things that have no eternal value.
  • Don’t obsess on the external. I believe that we are expected to look after our bodies. It is the temple of the living God (2 Corinthians 6:16), and we are to be good stewards of it, but we should not make our bodies objects of our worship. Any resolution which involves our appearance and our health should be moderated by the right motivation.
  • Plan! There is no point in setting a goal without a definable strategy. It will never work! Maybe this year you want to spend more time reading your Bible. This might involve sacrificing time which you normally spend on sleep, on Facebook, or with friends. Determine when you are going to work towards your goal, set aside the time and stick to it.
  • Keep the goal in mind. When things get tough, remember why you’re doing it. Write it out on a sticky note and attach it to the bathroom mirror, the fridge, your bedroom door.
  • Pray! This is the most important, yet most neglected, part of meeting our goals. If our new year’s resolutions have God at the centre, we can take our struggles, our discouragements to Him, and ask for His help to continue, knowing He can impart the necessary strength to keep going when things get tough.


And finally, as we embark on another year, don’t forget the words of CT Studd, a man who knew in a very practical way the meaning of putting Christ first in his life.


Give me, Father, a purpose deep,

In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;

Faithful and true what e’er the strife,

Pleasing Thee in my daily life;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,

Now let me say, ‘Thy will be done’;

And when at last I’ll hear the call,

I know I’ll say, ‘’twas worth it all’;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

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