Resolution Or New Beginning?

In this season of new beginnings there seem to be two categories of people: those who avoid New Year’s Resolutions and those who fail to keep them.

Actually, there’s a small third group. Something around 7-8% of people who make resolutions actually accomplish them.

I’ve been thinking about why we struggle so much with new beginnings. From personal experience, a couple of thoughts:

Our resolutions are often based on a sense of guilt or obligation.

God doesn’t want us to read the bible or serve at the homeless shelter because we feel guilty. We’re actually less likely to follow through on the spirit of a commitment when we feel a sense of compulsion. Guilt and obligation fuel resentment and a search for shortcuts and loopholes.

Our resolutions are often based on others’ expectations.

It’s tough to chase someone else’s dream. Whether it’s society’s notion of the ideal body or your own self-imposed version of what it takes to be perceived as a “success,” you’re going to struggle to sustain the pursuit of somebody else’s “should.”

Our resolutions often focus on result rather than process.

Students often returned from Christmas break committed to achieving a higher grade. I told them they’d do better by committing to do their best on every assignment.

Want to run a marathon? Most likely, you can’t—right now. But you can change your lifestyle, eat a little better, start running. You can train to run a marathon. And if you do that for a while, the race, like the higher grade, will take care of itself.

If you’re thinking about the notion of starting—and sustaining—something new, my friend Jon Swanson just published an ebook called Learning A New Routine: Reading the Sermon on the Mount a little bit at a time. I downloaded it last week and started working through it. I encourage you to check it out.

Maybe Jesus has some ideas about new beginnings.

Have you made any resolutions? How will you keep them?

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Copyright 2008-2012 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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