Resolutions: The Why Behind What You’re Doing

The success rate of people keeping resolutions is around 8 percent (tops). Resolutions fell off my to-do list years ago. However, I’ve heard that more than 50 percent of Americans still firmly believe in making resolutions.

New Year
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And let’s just say old habits are hard to break; the ritual of making resolutions began long before Christ was born.

I finally nailed down my New Year’s resolutions:

  • Gain 20 pounds
  • Create chaos and conflict with family and friends
  • Stop reading my Bible
  • Stop exercising
  • Dive deeper into debt
  • Get fired
  • Have a nervous breakdown

Well, okay . . . maybe not!

Resolution Rituals

The first records we have of resolution-like practices date back to the Babylonian empire.

The motivation was that if the gods were pleased by one’s behavior, success and prosperity would come to that person during the coming year.

The Romans continued this practice annually in accordance with Julius Caesar’s change of the calendar.

Over time, the evolution of the New Year’s resolution shifted.

Resolutions once focused on cultivating morality and inner disciplines; now they are largely about externals—losing weight, getting organized, and creating more family time.

You may be thinking, what’s wrong with growth in those areas?

Well, minus the pagan gods part.

  • Moral development
  • Health
  • Wellness
  • Balance

Seems like a magnificent merging of the Bible and the golden rule.

Or is it? When examined on the surface, it all seems relatively okay; but for the Christian, when we dig into it, there is a vast difference between resolutions and transforming change. It requires one question:

What is your “Why?”—your core motive for making that resolution?

Thinking It Through

I recently wrote about being burned out and exhausted. For healing and wellness to happen, I had to examine this question:

Why did I get burned out—was it because of my . . .

  • Habits
  • Choices
  • Beliefs
  • Behaviors
  • Patterns

As we step into the New Year, let’s do so wisely.

Often, we don’t realize our choices and habits have developed from

  • Past hurts
  • Present demands
  • Persistent worries about the future

(Notice these are all focused on the self.)

Self-motivated anything is typically a set-up for disappointment.

A thinner waistline or fatter bank account won’t ultimately make you feel more fulfilled. We will never get to where we desire by focusing only on ourselves.

Our focus must be on Christ and our relationship with Him, because His truth, His love, and our identity in Him ought to be the basis for our why as Christians.

Knowing why you choose, believe, and behave affects every area of your life.

The answer to our “Why?” ought to be “because . . . Jesus.”

Self-Examination

If you desire this next year to be the “best one yet,” start by examining your expectations and motivations—your why behind what you are doing.

Examine

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I’ve included a brief questionnaire to get things going—because we all desire a year that brings peace and provides hope.

In making resolutions, let’s ask why:

Intellectually

  • Why am I pursuing this grade, major, occupation, path of study?
  • Is this how God has made me, and am I relying on Him for help (Daniel 1:17), or am I choosing to please others and not pursue my heart’s desire?

Physically

  • Are my health goals established on insecurities or immoral issues, or because my body is the temple of the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:19–20) and there is only one me?
  • Do I honor the Lord with my body, how I dress, how I present myself?
  • Why do I want to be physically fit?

Emotionally

  • Am I establishing wise boundaries?
  • How is my attitude?
  • Have I been stressed and disconnected and unwilling to listen to others’ concerns (Proverbs 27:9)?
  • Has someone suggested I see a therapist—and am I willing/unwilling to listen?

Relationally

  • Why do I choose certain relationships?
  • Are they healthy, promoting growth (Proverbs 17:17) or unhealthy and codependent?
  • Do I want to be right more than at peace with others?
  • Am I controlling in relationships?
  • Do my friends and family feel comfortable with me, or am I difficult?
  • What kinds of relationships does the Lord desire for me to cultivate?
  • Are they in keeping with my current relationships?
  • Do I honor the Lord in how I treat my loved ones (Ephesians 4:32)?

Spiritually

  • Why do I believe what I believe (1 Peter 3:15)?
  • Are my beliefs and behaviors congruent?
  • Am I allowing the Lord to shape me?
  • Am I trying to hide something from the Lord (as if . . .)?
  • Why do I treat others and myself the way I do?
  • Do I have lingering resentments or bitterness that need to be worked through?
  • Do I honor the Lord with my time and who I am with?
  • How’s my judgment toward others?
  • Do I label and judge or seek to understand and help (James 5:9)?

Let Me Hear from You

There are a ton of questions listed above, I know. Perhaps in the month of January, you can take one section a week to examine where you are and if you need to make changes. You can do it! In fact, let’s do this together.

I’m in the midst of making a few changes myself; you may have ideas I haven’t thought of. So tell me what you are working on, and I’ll let you in on my progress.

It’s going to be a great year.

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

  • jean

    Hello colleen happy 2017 year!!! If you can see me,you will see in me a lot to change physically. My hair are all grays. My husband keeps prodding me to have it dyed black.I refuse because i want my hair to grow its natural color.But i had it cut by an expert (a Korean).My husband and i have a opposite attitude with how we look as we age.He is angry being called tatay (a title of respect for older people) while i enjoy it bec. it comes with an assistance when i cross the street,going down a bus or a jeep on commute.My teeth are one by one going while he has his denture fixed i am waiting tor my funding (eternity i think),my eyes are becoming blurred,he is seldom using his reading glass.I notice he is becoming irritable with all of these changes in our physical appearance.And his attitude makes him older than me where in fact i am one(1) year older than him.My skin looks younger than my age,only i am in cane that proves me to be older than him.My resolution is to keep an attitude focused on Christ.He is good at this age of mine i am happy to be able to endure him and is seeing little by little a change in his attitude towards me.especially when he heard your dad’s teaching about marriage oiled by grace.He listen to it every time.That makes me smile in secret. Looking to Christ alone sustains my attitude , i want my self now that i am older than when i was younger.I think focusing on Christ more and my appearance less.makes me look younger than my husband.I must close these my internet might go slow anytime and fail to send you this very important HAPPY NEW GEETINGS.

    • Jean, what a wonderful note to receive…thank you. It sounds like the Lord is leading you and empowering you through some of life’s greatest challenges. Your endurance and positive attitude are so encouraging. I think anyone who loves Jesus and allows Him to be their ruler of their life carries a ‘shine’ about them. Those I know who love Jesus just seem so much more at peace and there is a difference in their countenance. I bet the same is true for you…at any age, when we are living surrendered to Christ, it shows.
      Many blessings for this new year and I pray it is a wonderful one for you too. Please stay in touch!
      Colleen