Everyone has their opinion on New Year’s resolutions. They can be a divisive topic. Some people LOVE them: “New year, I’m new!” Are you that person? Others can’t stand the thought. “They are a commercial invention to make me pay for a gym that I will never use.” Is that you?
Maybe you are someone who likes the ‘goal’ of the new year. You know, something to towards rather than an arbitrary new standard to fail. Or perhaps you choose the ‘annual theme – the thoughts that filter the way you live in the future.
A new beginning
Whether you’re engaged in New Year’s goals or not, there’s one thing that’s undeniable: there’s something about a new year that gives us the feeling of a fresh start. A new year prompts us to turn back, reminds us to give life one more time, and reminds us to renew the parts of life that have passed.
So here’s my question: as Christians, how can we harness this New Year’s energy to become better followers of Jesus? How can we make and keep meaningful New Year resolutions to bring us closer to Christ?
Here are five thoughts:
1. Ask God First
“Apart from me, there is nothing you can do.” John 15:5
As Jesus began His sermon on “the vine and its branches” (John 15:1-17), He gave a strong (and blunt) reminder that as a Christian, ALL OF Our purpose, productivity, and growth come from Him. Without Jesus, we have nothing of eternal value to offer. That is an important fostering perspective.
One mistake we make with New Year’s resolutions is to take it on our own. We put all our willpower into the determination to eat healthier, exercise more, or read the Bible and then beat ourselves up when we inevitably fail. It’s like deciding to run a marathon without much training and without an outside coach: burnout is certain. This is not how God wants us to live!
All strength in spiritual growth comes first from God. There is no power to simply offer a solution. If we want to grow, we must be mindful of our constant need for God’s Spirit. He needs to be the initiator, not us.
To make effective decisions this year, put God in the process from Day One. Let’s pray. James 1:5 says: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask the Lord.This is a great place to start. Keep it simple and ask God first.
2. Wondering why?
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of Jesus.“Colossians 3:17”
Once you’ve brought God to center stage, the next step is healthy self-reflection. Why are you making these decisions?
As Christians, we are called to live for a purpose greater than ourselves. Following Christ, we lay down our lives for others as we seek to bring His good news into a broken world. Through the Holy Spirit, we give up our selfish desires and replace them with God’s purposes. We live by “Your wish will be fulfilled.”instead of running after our own cravings.
This is relevant when we make resolutions for the new year. Self-motivating determination will be sustained through our willpower, which will eventually tire. God-moved resolutions are more likely to yield consistent and impactful results.
In each resolution we make, ask the question: who is this for? If it’s just us, let’s think again. In everything we do, let us be determined to glorify God and do it all for HIS name, not ours. With that motivation, we can have more confidence that the Spirit will help us through.
3. Make a plan
Once we have the right direction in our goals for the new year, we can begin to set good goals. If God is the center and we are determined for His glory, then we have a solid foundation.
A simple tip to stay determined for the new year is to make a plan for how you will go about it. If you just say “I want to eat healthy,” it’s unlikely you’ll get there consistently. It’s too vague, and you haven’t figured out what it actually looks like. You are more likely to succeed if you realistically plan for healthy eating.
A solution is nothing without a plan. Write it down. Give yourself test scores to reflect on progress. When this stuff is on paper, it’s easier to do!
4. Make it sustainable
“Give us today our daily bread.“Matthew 6:11”
When Jesus taught us to pray, He gave us this wonderful saying about daily bread. I’ve always loved this thought. Jesus encourages sustainable spiritual growth: small things done often. He didn’t ask us to make great, impossible leaps with fragmentary faith. Instead, He wants us to gradually develop trust and a deep intimacy with Him – one step at a time.
Jesus draws us step by step. This is a powerful principle to apply to New Year’s Resolutions. If you haven’t been to the gym in five years, chances are you won’t be hitting the gym five times a week from tomorrow. Instead, you need to start small. Do something you can do consistently and let it grow naturally.
To get results with your resolutions, build lasting habits and don’t be afraid to fail. If your rhythm is steady, missing a day won’t derail you.
Choose to embrace this year one day at a time and bring God into each moment.
5. Get others involved
Don’t do life alone. Our entire life with Christ is designed to be done in community. New Year’s resolutions are no exception. When we set goals and are determined to grow, we need others around us to hold us accountable.
If you want to succeed in your New Year’s resolutions, find a friend. Check together. Ask for help when you need it. Can work together through some of the content on the Glorify app. It’s amazing how much more productive you can be when others are involved.
This year, determined to live with Everybody. With God at the center, you can achieve extraordinary things together.
How to Keep New Year’s Resolutions: Final Thoughts
As a Christian, a solution is meaningless if God is nowhere to be found in it. We want to be like Jesus. That is our goal. With each passing year, we want to love more deeply, hope more, and serve others better.
So take a moment to commit the year to God. Ask Him where you need to grow. Then let Him dictate your decisions. This could be your best year yet!
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