Why New Year Resolutions Don’t Work and What You Can Do About It

(Source of comics, HERE)

A new post on the Blackbird Press (see HERE) brought to mind a much discussed topic, in certain circles, this time of the year: new year resolutions. The authors suggest that most people fall. from this point of view, in two categories. Those who,

1. Made a resolution that you will probably break by February, and forget all about by March. Heck, it’s the 3rd, maybe you’ve broken it already.

2. Thought it was dumb that people make resolutions on New Years Eve they will only break, so you’ve decided to make a pre-emtive strike and not make a resolution at all. You’ll change not for some arbitrary celebration, but in your own natural timing. Which is to say, never.

In what I am concerned, I am too old for the first mistake (I blow it too many times), so I fall easily for the second 😦

What kind are you. Here is the poll:

* * *

No matter what your position is on new year resolutions, I hope you are still interested in character formation. If so, the author of the above post recommend two interesting articles dealing with this topic.

The first presents 7 tips on making and breaking habits. Here they are:

1. One thing at a time.

2. Launch your habit with as strong an initiative as possible.  

3. Make a 60-day goal.

4. Don’t break the chain!
5. Keep yourself accountable.

6. Replace a bad habit with a good habit.
7. Just do it, dammit!

If you are interested in reading the whole thing, you find it HERE.

* * *

The second suggestion comes in two parts (see HERE and HERE). I will summarise them for you in two lines:

Painful truth #1: you say you want it, but you really want something else


Painful truth #2: if you think your good intentions are enough to create change, you are sunk.

* * *

I admit, these things sound too much like American ‘self help’ formulas, but maybe, besides depending on God’s help for the change, we also have some things to do. How do the Orthodox call this? Synergy? I know some Calvinists go crazy when they hear that, but maybe they need to stop reading Calvinist theology for a while and get back to the Bible. They may have some ‘revelations’ if they do. Like the fact that Calvin himself was not really a Calvinist.


Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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