Resolution: 1. A firm decision to do or not to do something.
A New Year’s resolution: 1. The commitment a person makes to one or more personal goals, projects or the reforming of a habit.
“I am about to do something new! See, I have already begun! Now it springs up. Do you not perceive it? Do you not see it? Will you not give heed to it?” (Isaiah 43:19)
Just as a new Christian becomes a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17), New Year’s Eve marks the start of a new day for many people. It signifies the start of a new year. It can symbolize the ending of one thing and the beginning of a new season. A new chapter. It can represent new opportunities. It can represent change. A chance to do something different. It can represent hope for the future.
For me, there is just something about the start of a new year that gives me the feeling of a fresh start and a new beginning. I love that feeling of opening a brand new diary and putting pen to paper for the first time (yes, I know, I’m very ‘old school’ and still love to use a paper diary). I love the feeling when I open the page of a brand new journal and write the date: 1st January.
I’m actually not one of those people that makes New Year’s Resolutions. Okay, I admit to having (occasionally in the past) decided that I will eat less and exercise more, but that only lasts for a few days because there are always the post-Christmas chocolates in the pantry that must be consumed! Usually around the middle of January I remember my “resolution” and resolve that, maybe next month when the kids go back to school I’ll re-start my healthy eating resolution.
According to researchers at the Sydney University (and I am shaking my head as I write that phrase because seriously, who actually researches this kind of stuff and why?), half of all Australians will make a resolution on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. And the same ones will crop up each year. Why? Because apparently we have “unrealistic goals and expectations and no clear plan for how we will reach them”.
Whether it’s to eat less, exercise more, stop smoking, spend less time at work and more time with the family, travel more, get out of debt or whether its to resolve to never make another New Year’s Resolution, people are pretty predictable when it comes to making resolutions. If you don’t believe me, do a Facebook poll or just Google “Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions”!
In the past, to be honest, my New Year’s Resolutions looked more like a “wish list” of the things I wanted to improve and change in my life. But just because I wanted them, didn’t mean I was going to commit to doing anything about them!
If I did make New Year’s Resolutions (apart from the aforementioned “eat less, exercise more” resolution), I would most likely resolve to pray and read the Bible more regularly and to journal every day. Whilst these are fantastic and commendable goals, resolutions like this often fail for me because I don’t have the proper motivation for starting them in the first place. For example, why do I want to read the Bible every day? Is it to honor God and grow spiritually as I’m nourished by the powerful Word of God? Or is it because I think it’s the “right thing to do?” Why do I want to pray more? Is it because I want to grow in my relationship with God and hear from Him? Or is it because it’s the “right thing to do”? Why do I want to journal every day? Is it because I want to write down the things God shows me and speaks to me about? Or is it because all good Christian women keep a journal and it’s the “right (pardon the pun) thing to do”?
The Bible doesn’t say anything about making resolutions at the beginning of a new year but it does urge me to examine my life and to seek God’s help to become a better person. Lamentations 3:40 says: “Let us examine our ways and test them, think about the way we are living and turn back to the Lord”.
Maybe that’s enough for me. Just examine how I live and turn back to God.
Maybe that should be everyone’s New Year’s Resolution.
Since March this year I have been on a journey. It’s been a slow and steady journey of faith where I have tested and examined my relationship with God. I have reached out in faith and trusted Him again, and as I have done so, I have allowed my heart to be softened and found myself being drawn back into a loving relationship with Him.
So, this New Year’s Eve, as one year closes and a new one begins (Chapter Two), and as I reflect back over this bumpy journey, I will make one resolution: I resolve to continue to live, day to day, trusting God. And this is one New Year’s Resolution I intend to keep!