New Year’s Resolutions

Resolutions are a glimpse into what we reflect on and find unsatisfactory. They give us a hint at what we realize we have failed to do and a look at how we need to change going forward. 62% of people make a New Year’s resolution at some point.
According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, the #1 resolution for 2014 is to lose weight (#5 was to stay fit and healthy). #2 is to get organized. #3 is to spend less and save more. #7 is to quit smoking.
These resolutions give us a look at our world. We realize that we are not taking care of our bodies (eating too much, not exercising enough, and doing harmful things like smoking). We realize we live life without enough order (thus the resolution to organize). We are not organized enough in our relationships (resolution #10 – spend more time with family), our money (resolution #3), or our time.
We see a problem and we want to correct it.
And then there are the 38% who are resolved to never make a resolution. They think making resolutions is pointless.
But my question to them is this: If you are going the wrong way and you realize you are going the wrong way, isn’t it best to commit to a course correction?
I know, cynically you can say that those who make resolutions “never” keep them. And that is partly true. Many do not keep their resolutions. But, you are 10 times more likely to reach a goal if you make a specific resolution.
Whether you like the idea or not, you need resolutions.
But, even if you make a resolution it does not mean you will follow through on it. So, how do we make a resolution stick? Around the age of 20, theologian Jonathan Edwards wrote down 70 resolutions. He then read them once each week until his death. He was intent on keeping his resolutions in the forefront of his mind.
Here are some of the resolutions he made:
#5 – Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.

#7 – Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.

#14 – Resolved, Never to do any thing out of revenge.

#20 – Resolved, To maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.

#56 – Resolved, Never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

Edwards took his resolve seriously and he worked on them with discipline throughout his life. He did not see these resolutions as quick fixes, but as character changes. And that is how we ought to approach resolutions.

Here is the thing about resolutions – they are what you make them. If you see them as empty promises you make to yourself and others – that is what they will be. But if you see them as needed disciplines to eliminate bad habits and begin good habits, well that is what they will become.
But, as the 2014 begins, it is good to stop for a moment and reflect. It is good to ask a few questions?
What habits have I picked up that I need to eliminate?
What habits have I lost that I need to begin again?
What habits do I need to begin for the first time?
What changes need to be made so that I can eliminate bad habits and begin good habits?

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2 Responses to “New Year’s Resolutions”

  1. Rachael says:

    Thanks for sharing some of Edwards’ list — food for thought!

  2. Angie says:

    Try Jesus Christ and read His ways of resolutions in the Bible. My best one is transformation.. In being wise in our choices in any way, shape or form..

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