5 Reasons Your Resolutions May Fail
Sorry to Debbie-Downer all over your hopes of a new you in the new year, but there's a solid possibility your resolutions won't stick. An estimated 92% of all people fail to follow through on the resolutions they set. Some people are critical of resolutions for this very reason. The reality is, when pursued through typical means, new year's resolutions produce typical results - which is to say, none.
Curiously, the internet will be filled with two messages about resolutions this week. One will tell you to set resolutions as if they were magic. They will be obvious due to their saturation with a "you can do anything" tone - a new you, your best life now, you're a snow flake and can change yourself, etc. I threw up in my mouth just writing that. This message is naive, self-centered garbage.
On the other end there will be some who criticize all resolutions and sometimes, those who set them. Be careful of this as well. Resolutions are rooted in a desire to bring intentional focus to specific areas of life. Little happens by accident, so intentionality is important.
As is often the case, both extremes are unhelpful and the place to live is in the middle.
So, this is not the post telling you how awesome you are and how much you’re capable of on your own. This is also not the post telling you not to set resolutions. This is a call for a more careful resolution. The new year is a great time to bring fresh eyes to your faith and life. But if you aren't careful, your resolutions will fail like the rest. Here are five reasons why...
1. Your motivation is sinful.
A good resolution fueled by the wrong motivation makes even a good resolution wrong (you may need to read that again). A few examples...
- If your desire to lose weight is fueled by vanity, that’s sin.
- If your desire to pray more is motivated by a desire to earn God’s love, that’s sin.
- If your desire to read more books, or finally get through the entire Bible this year, is birthed by a self-righteous desire for intellectual superiority, that’s sin.
Sinfully motivated resolutions will always fail. So what’s motivating your resolution?
2. You haven't attached it to a problem.
Maybe you’re thinking, “My pastor is always saying I need to read my Bible more, so I guess that will do for a resolution.” You won't make it two weeks with this as the cause of your resolution. However, if you truly see constant consumption of Scripture as the solution to significant problems in your life, (i.e. communion with God, spiritual growth, assurance, conviction, equipping, etc.) this becomes so much more than a mere resolution. It becomes the answer to a deep need in your life. So what problem is this resolution the solution to?
3. You have no plan.
Many people stop at the very decision to set a resolution. They determine the what, but never consider the how. Just because you say it out loud, write it down, or tell others about it doesn’t guarantee it will actually happen. You need a plan. So what’s your actual plan for seeing your resolution through to completion?
4. They are not attainable.
Some resolutions are crazy. Can we be honest? You’re probably not going to memorize Leviticus, or lose 100 lbs (a few may, most won't). Many resolutions are doomed to fail before the new year even begins because they aren’t attainable. Make sure you’ve counted the cost, planned carefully, and can actually accomplish what you’re resolving to accomplish. Is your resolution attainable?
5. You're not pursuing them in community.
There isn’t much you and I are equipped to accomplish alone. You’ll go further and see greater success if you include others in your resolutions. Incorporating your spouse, sibling, friend, or small group in what you’re doing will pay serious dividends. Exercise with a friend, serve on a team at church, eat healthier as a family, get financial counseling from someone who can help - you’ll do more with others than you will alone. So how will you pursue this resolution in community?
I want to grow this year. I have lifestyle changes I want to make. There are tasks I want to accomplish. I know that I’m not alone, since somewhere around 40% of people are setting resolutions right now. Unfortunately, if we’re not careful we will fail. So make sure your resolutions honor God, solve a specific problem, have a plan, are attainable and pursued in community. Happy resolving!