Q. I'm am so excited about the New Year and the thought of having a new start in my life. But I was wondering, as a believer, is it a good idea to make a New Year's Resolution?
A. We’ve all heard friends and family, even ourselves say “I’m going to get in shape,” or “I’m going to quit a bad habit.” We usually hear these announcements at the end of December, in the form of New Year’s Resolutions. Webster’s Online Dictionary defines a resolution as making a firm decision about something; “the act of answering, solving.” When we resolve to complete a task, we are stating that we will follow through and complete a specific goal.
A majority of individuals, however, do not follow through with these well-intentioned resolutions. Proof of this is the fact that self help books and gym membership sales skyrocket in December and January, yet drop off tremendously in February. These types of decisions are sometimes emotional or “knee-jerk” reactions, and are short-lived much of the time. On the other hand, well planned, proactive decisions have a much better success rate. In other words, our ability to see a resolution completed is directly related to our type and level of motivation. If we are motivated by worldly standards or desires, even if we meet our goal, we fail.
On the other hand, if we are truly seeking to become more like Christ and are genuinely working in and through God’s will, we will be successful, regardless of how the world sees us. So, should we make resolutions for the New Year, or does the exact date matter? Romans 14:5 states, “One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.”2 This passage reminds us that we need to choose for ourselves what we believe and how we act, based on the most solid information possible; the best place to start is the Bible.
The New Testament repeatedly encourages believers to put off vices and put on virtues. Any day is a great day to reconcile sins of the past and set new goals in any and all areas of life, including January 1st. So, go ahead and make those New Year’s resolutions, making sure you’re resolving to improve an area of your life that will honor Christ and bring glory to Him!
*This column is not intended to substitute for an actual session with a licensed counselor.
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