On Keeping Resolutions

Happy New Years! Did you make any resolutions for 2011? Have you been able to keep them by this third day of January? F.M. Knowles said, “He who breaks a resolution is a weakling;
 He who makes one is a fool.” Then there’s Oscar Wilde who said, “Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account.” According to Knowles and Wilde, our potential success in New Year’s Resolutions sounds faltering. With that said, I want to offer a few thoughts about living out our resolutions well.

1. Choose Wisely

Instead of multi-tasking resolutions, choose one resolution. According to “Blame It on the Brain” by Jonah Lehrer, “Willpower, like a bicep, can only exert itself so long before it gives out; it’s an extremely limited mental resource.” We have limited capacity to handle multiple resolutions successfully. Lehrer goes on to say, “Human routines are stubborn things, which helps explain why 88% of all resolutions end in failure, according to a 2007 survey of over 3,000 people conducted by the British psychologist Richard Wiseman. Bad habits are hard to break—and they’re impossible to break if we try to break them all at once.” Choose one resolution to keep successfully this year.

2. Live Deliberately

Intentionally live out the new resolution. New routines are essential in breaking an old habit. Create boundaries to safeguard and promote your resolution. If you want different results, you have to change methods, processes, and behaviors. What will you do differently to support this new resolution?

3. Consecrate Formally

Make your resolution a faith exercise. Pray, read, study, and memorize Scripture to support, encourage, and empower during your quest for behavioral change. What does God say about this particular resolution in life? Share your resolution with another who will help to hold you accountable in the change. Have you committed your plan and desire for change to the Lord? Don’t just pray once, keep on praying until you’ve reached the destination. Make your resolution a spiritual exercise.

“Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto man His Son hath given;
While angels sing with tender mirth,
A glad new year to all the earth.” ~Martin Luther