Should Christians Make New Year’s Resolutions?

As we kick off a new year, it’s usually a good time to reflect on how well we did on our commitments from the past year and take some time and plan some goals for the new year.

If you’re prone to setting the same weight loss (or other) goal over and over again but fail to reach it, then you’re stuck in a cycle and I want to offer you another approach to New Year’s resolutions that you may not have considered before.

As Christians, we are taught to be in this world but not of it (John 17:14-16), and I think it applies in this case of New Year’s resolutions. Using a worldly view of New Year’s resolutions, they are doomed to failure, after all, statistics tell us that 92% of people will fail at achieving their resolutions.

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In my experience of working with people over the last 30 years, people rarely achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Here are 5 reasons why New Year’s resolutions fail.

5 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

1.  You set unrealistic goals

Many of us say things like, “I want to lose 100 pounds by June” or “I want to start exercising for one hour every day”. These goals are simply too big (relative to where you are now), overwhelming, unmanageable, and only keep you procrastinating.

2.  You don’t really want to change

Deep down inside, many of us are not ready to change; we’re not ready to do the work that’s associated with changing; we don’t really want to give up the ‘perks’ of our present condition, or we’re afraid of what the 'new you' will look like.

3.  You don’t change your thinking

Change begins in our minds. Trying to willpower ourselves to change only strengthens the negative behavior we’re trying to eliminate.

4.  You’re addicted to disappointment

Many of us don’t realize it, but we’ve become addicted to disappointment. We’ve been disappointed so many times that we’ve come to expect it. Like changing our thinking, we must also learn how to change our emotional addictions which can be just as debilitating as chemical addictions!

5.  You don’t have a plan

Many of us sincerely want to change but we have no idea how to go about it. In the case of weight loss, the industry is flooded with contradicting and overwhelming messages. Low-fat, low-carb, high intensity, low intensity, we’re left scratching our heads and giving up shortly after starting.

Can you see yourself in one or more of these scenarios? If so, don’t feel bad. Follow this biblical approach to help you overcome the one or more areas that have been holding you back.

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5 Christ-Centered Strategies to Help You Overcome Failure

1.  Have You Followed the S.M.A.R.T. Principle for Goalsetting?

Your goal should be:

Specific—well-defined

Measurable—can you tangibly show how you will meet the goal?

Attainable—get real about what is and is not possible for you

Realistic and Relevant—are your goals in line with your Christian values and based on something that is possible based on your current lifestyle?

Time Sensitive—lastly, your goal should have a start date and an end date.

2.  Allow God to Change You

There’s so much fear associated with changing. The big three fears that limit people in weight release are fear of success, fear of failure, and fear of losing control (trust or submitting to God). When we learn to let go of our fears then we can learn that God only wants the best for us and as His Word says, He will never leave us or forsake us.

“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

When we try to change ourselves it seems too difficult and downright impossible, but when we turn it over to God, then we no longer need to worry.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6

3.  Renew Your Mind

The Bible talks about the dangers of putting new wine in old wineskins (Luke 5:37). It's a futile exercise just like trying to change your behaviors without changing your thinking. God wants our mind to be conformed to His. Spending time in His Word and seeking Him about the change you desire in your health, weight, or other area is a surefire way to make your resolutions last beyond January 31st.

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2

4.  Expect More from Yourself

When we don’t know who we are in Christ, we look to other people for the answer. We look to food to satisfy us and falsely believe that the right size will make us happy. When we put our trust in Christ and learn that He is trustworthy, then we will learn to see ourselves as He sees us which will finally break the cycle of self-hate, self-abuse, self-judgment, self-loathing, and low-self esteem.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

5.  Create a Consistent Action Plan

The Bible teaches us that the wayward man "will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly" (Proverbs 5:23). Our folly often leads us to try what is popular, what promises quick results, or what seems right in our own eyes. Thankfully, the Bible also teaches us the principle of small beginnings and consistency (Exodus 23:30). God wants us to understand that change is a process that happens day-by-day, little-by-little, step-by-step, from glory to glory. God's goal is Christ's fullness in our life. So if your goal is weight loss, then choose one (maybe 2) small manageable goal(s) and execute them daily and consistently.

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So, use the excitement of the new year to mark a new start and a new opportunity for growth and change but be sure to follow these biblical principles when executing your plan.

If you're looking for a faith-based approach that really works, be sure to start your journey with our 21-Day Weight Loss, God's Way Challenge starting soon.

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[…] 1. Get clear on your goal. What do you want to accomplish in the next 6 month. Revisit the goals you’ve set, adjust them if necessary and make sure they’re S.M.A.R.T. […]