New Year’s Resolution … or Dissolution?

Do you know what today is? According to one poll published by the New York Post … it’s the day by which most New Year’s Resolutions are broken. This is hardly a statistic hurriedly thrown together. The publishers of this finding (Strava) analyzed global online postings from 31.5 million people. Their research pinpointed January 12th as “the fateful day for New Year’s Resolutions.” Astounding!

Strava is a social network for athletes, so most of their failed resolutions had to do with fitness. Understandable, since that is the most popular category for resolutions. Another survey reported the top three resolutions are consistent year after year: 1) Lose weight, 2) get in better shape, 3) eat healthier. These three goals far outstrip resolutions that could be viewed as more significant like, “see more of my friends and family” or “get a better work-life balance.” That same poll, asked the question, “How long did your broken resolution last?”

  • 43% not even a month
  • 66% one month or less
  • 80% less than three months
  • 86% less than one year
  • 14% resolve not to lie on poles in the coming year.

Okay … I made that last one up. But … these dismal statistics do raise the deeply profound question … “Why bother?” If almost nobody keeps them, why even make them? I have some suggestions …

  • Don’t give up on resolutions … you can find them in the Bible. “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” Job 31:1 Or this awesome resolution, “I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me. Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil. Ps 101:3–4
  • Spend your resolve on things more important than health. The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8 Whatever the Bible highlights as leading to godliness … resolve to do that.
  • Don’t resolve in your power alone. The most profound and best kept resolutions I’ve ever read were penned by the 18th Century theologian Jonathan Edwards. His life proved his resolutions … and his preamble to them read, “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake.” Resolve from a place of dependence on your Maker. That’s wisdom straight out of Philippians 1:6.
  • Don’t allow past failure to determine your future. “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13–14