It seems like this time of the year is a time of evaluation and planning for a lot of people. It certainly is for me. It is a great time to look back and evaluate how the past year was, and then to look forward to what needs to be prioritised in the new year and the years that follow.
But if you are like me, the new year comes and we often forget about the resolutions and the new year becomes the same as the year just past. So how can we make that different? If you are one to make resolutions, here are a few of my suggestions to make them as meaningful as possible.
- Make your resolutions prayerfully. Many times I have found them to be made from musings over the past year and from a desire to make the next year to be better. There’s nothing wrong with that bu,t it’s just not enough. We should always want everything in our lives, including our resolutions, to result in the glory of God. For this to happen a good place to start would be to invite God to have a say in the resolutions that you make!
- Evaluate the motivations behind any resolutions. It will answer the questions of “Why is that resolution so important for the year ahead,” and “How will this result in God getting glory.” Maybe we don’t remember our resolutions after 1 January because they are nothing more than good intentions.
- View your resolutions through the lens of the Gospel to ensure that they have an eternal perspective. This will help us to live beyond the next year. On Christmas day I had a young man ask me what message I had for him and other students with him. The only thing I could come up with is, “Live with eternity in view.” The Gospel helps bring this into reality.
- Write down your resolutions. For most us, we realise how frail we are when we forget important things. By writing things down we are able to remember so much easier as well as articulate the resolution far clearer. Dawson Trotman, the founder of The Navigators, once wrote, “Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips.”
- Don’t feel pressurised to make resolutions. Jonathan Edwards wrote out a series of 70 resolutions between the years 1723 and 1724. He was 20 at the time. He made a habit of reading through these resolutions every week for the rest of his life. Maybe he had others, but it seems like these were the 70 that he went back to for the rest of his life.
- Remind yourselves. Why should we do this? Because we forget. If God has had a role in the making of these resolutions, I think we will want to be reminded of them and keep them.
2012 is around the corner. What is your resolve for this new and exciting year that God has given us? Maybe the Apostle Paul can help us when he speaks in 1 Corinthians 2:2 and says, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified!” That’s a worthwhile resolve for everyone!