Stop for a minute and listen. Can you hear it? The sounds of people scooping ice cream into bowls frantically, snoring loudly from their beds late into the morning and watching TV for another hour.
As January 1 draws near, many who have decided upon a New Year’s resolution get in as much action as possible before they find themselves no longer eating sweets or hitting snooze or zoning out for hours in front of the TV. Because pretty soon, we’ll hear treadmills whirring early in the morning instead.
For most people, however, that treadmill whirs for a month or two before the perfected action of snoozing that alarm sneaks its way back into routine.
Why do we find it so difficult to keep our New Year’s resolutions? Many of us probably don’t even make one, mostly because we know we won’t keep it up for the whole year. So why bother? What’s the point if you’re only going to feel like a failure when you do break it?
Maybe it’s more than a resolution, though. Have you ever thought of this declaration as a promise? Because, in a way, that’s what it is. It’s a promise to yourself.
Promises and faithfulness
We find ourselves giving up on our resolutions when we realize we simply don’t care anymore. We’re in good enough shape. We’ve cut most of the criticism out of our everyday conversations. We read our Bibles every so often throughout the week.
The reality of a resolution, though, isn’t to just make you more self-conscious about a specific area of your life. It doesn’t create a legalistic mindset, as some Christians might argue. The reality is that your New Year’s resolution helps you see the importance of keeping a promise while giving you tangible results.
Why does it matter if you keep or break a promise to yourself? Because if you don’t have enough discipline to keep a promise to yourself, how will you be able to keep a promise to anyone else?
Yes, that sounds a little extreme. You might think, “But my promises to myself don’t matter as much. I’m more likely to keep a promise to someone else because they’re depending on me.”
But here’s where reality comes into play. As we fight to keep our promises to ourselves through resolutions, we create the habit of following through on our word. We realize what is truly important, attainable and realistic when making promises. And we begin to understand why God always remaining faithful and never breaking His promises are characteristics we should strive for in all our resolutions.
In light of God’s truth
God does not take promises lightly. He warns us not only about fulfilling our vows to Him, but also about making hasty promises. And it’s no wonder, as He has a pretty good track record with keeping His word. Are we not to strive to be perfect, as our Heavenly Father is perfect?
Yes, our resolutions may pale in comparison to making a vow before God, but it’s your heart that matters, not the specifics of how often you want to exercise or how you want to change your morning routine. God desires us to glorify His Name in all that we do. Wouldn’t this include your promise to yourself?
Again, keeping a New Year’s resolution to yourself may not seem like a big deal. But when you look at the reality of a resolution in light of God’s truth, you’ll begin to see how resolutions lead us to stand more in awe of God. We see His perfection in the midst of our falterings. We realize how everything we do can bring Him glory.
The truth is, it really doesn’t matter what you decide on for your New Year’s resolution. As long as it promotes a healthy change and it’s attainable (who wants to create a goal they’ll never reach?), then you’re on the right track. But when the temptations come to not follow through, keep in mind you’re not doing this just because it sounded like a good thing to do. Remember it’s a promise you made to yourself. And it’s teaching you to look deeper into the heart of God’s faithfulness.
Let’s Talk About It: How have your resolutions enabled you to see God’s faithfulness?