I remember preaching a New Year’s sermon to a group of beaten down people when I was in my mid-twenties. I started off by asking how many of them had made at least one resolution for the new year. I was unprepared for the lackluster response. Only a few hands went up. I thought that maybe the rest were just being shy so I pressed them a bit, but quickly found out that they hadn’t made any resolutions. I remember thinking how sad it was to see people give up on changing something about their lives.
Now that I’m a decade older I think I understand why most of them had stopped making resolutions. Experience had taught them that 99% of New Year’s resolutions “don’t mean nothing” come February. After awhile, we get tired of setting ourselves up for disappointment and failure. It’s easier to resolve to do nothing new or different than it is to make a commitment and then wind up with the same results as those who made no resolutions at all.
Most resolutions fail because they’re actually more wishes than commitments. A resolution without a clearly defined goal that is supported with a realistic strategy, and empowered by an encouraging community is nothing more than an opportunity to be disappointed in yourself. If you’re not willing to do the strategic work behind the resolution then don’t torture yourself by making yet another list of wishes that have no chance of coming true.
Over the last decade, I’ve made my share of dead-end resolutions and I’ve let a few January’s come and go without setting any goals for myself. I’ve found myself stuck in a moment that I can’t get out of more times than I’m comfortable admitting. I shudder to think that at times I’ve been well on my way to being one of those who has simply given up and resigned myself to living the life that is, rather than the life that could be.
That’s why before I made any resolutions this year, I had to make a declaration: I don’t ever want to believe that change is impossible. I don’t ever want to be the kind of person who looks at some area of mediocrity in my life and decides that this is as good as it’s going to get. I always want to believe that things can get better, that I can be better, that I don’t have to be stuck where I am.
Change is possible!
I believe this.
What about you?