I have always had an issue with the concept of resolutions. Especially around New Years time because it all seems too overdone. No one is expected to really follow through on theirs and it seems to have become a cultural joke.
When I used to make resolutions I always found myself becoming increasingly depressed as I failed at my resolutions and constantly had to start over and fail again. I’m not sure if this is a personal problem or something common but in either case it raises an issue.
Are resolutions worth making if it’s just going to depress me when I don’t fulfill them?
However without resolving to change will I ever?
Is there a better way?
I propose that for real change to happen in a person’s life resolving to change is not enough. Perhaps at least in my life there needs to be less resolution for the future and more solution for the here and now. Some points that I’m exploring…
I think this is why some people post their resolutions on Facebook. Once it’s public we may feel like we will stick to the goal better. I have seen this work for other people but it does not work for me. Public resolutions may seem like they would keep one more accountable but I think it just adds to the guilt factor when resolutions aren’t being met.
I would propose telling a smaller group of friends or family about what you want to change. The accountability is still there and in times when the plan gets rough you can focus more on getting back on track and less on the guilt of being off track.
Mutual accountability is also a beautiful thing. Finding a few friends who are trying to solve things of their own can be very helpful. Not only can you remind each other of what you want to do but one friend’s success may inspire another’s.
2. Creative Solutions to individual problems
Trying to fit an individualized issue in life into a mass solution may seem at times like fitting a square box into a circular hole. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. When a resolution is made I believe that a creative brainstorming session will almost always be necessary.
Perhaps the popular solution to a problem simply wont work. For example, joining a gym and working out a certain amount of time every day just wont work with a college budget or time table. And if this method is attempted anyway time and time again fails then it can cause resolution depression. The problem may not be with you if the resolution isn’t working out. The problem may be with the method.
Put on your thinking cap. Sit down, make a schedule and look at the realities of your time and resources and try to find a solution which is both possible and fits somewhere naturally in your life.
Ask friends for their help in designing a solution. they may see windows of opportunity or other creative solutions that you can’t. If the first solution or method doesn’t work then go back, be honest, say it doesn’t work and begin brainstorming another solution.
A quest for a solution allows for much more self-given grace than a resolution often does. When you fail or fall short finding a new solution can be more productive than failing the same solution multiple times.
First, I think that before setting out on a quest of self-improvement, God, who knows us best and knows who we were created to be, should be asked to reveal what needs to be changed in order to make us more like him, better able to do his work, and better able to bring praise to him with our lives.
I believe that if we ask God what we should focus energy on changing in order to fulfill these created purposes, he will tell us. Resolving to change and having a God-appointed mission to find a solution are two very different things.
If God calls you to change an aspect of your life or relationship with him then he will give you the tools you need to change it.
Our God seems to care much more about our process than our final product. We put a lot of stock in the product but it is through the relentless, suborn process of trying solution after solution to fully obey God that we develop our character. The difficult process, not the resolution and not the final product, is what equips us to be able to obey a call to change in the next area of our lives that he presents.
I do not believe that resolutions are bad. They can be very effective and significantly impact us, our lives, and our likeness of God if the effort goes past the resolution in into a solution. Trust your friends, be willing to try things differently, look for growth in failure, and constantly be asking God for strength and guidance into how to invest the resources that he has given you.