I hate New Year’s resolutions for many reasons not the least of which is that I am terrible at them. You’d be hard-pressed to shuffle through the list of resolutions I’ve made over the years and find one I’ve stuck with for more than a month let alone a whole year. It just doesn’t happen, but it’s become culturally expected to have some grand plan to reinvent ourselves in the new year. I hate it.
There are a few other reasons I’m averse to the whole New Year’s resolution thing:
1). For some reason, most of us love the newness of a week, a month and especially a year. “I’ll start dieting tomorrow or after the weekend, or next month when things slow down. Starting January 1 I’m really going to buckle down and get my life organized, lose 50 pounds, get out of debt, etc.”
Steven Covey, author of the best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People made a most profound statement when he said this:
“The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of a proactive person.”
In other words, tomorrow is not more magical than right now. Big changes start with little everyday, moment-by-moment changes. Want to organize your life? Start by picking up the clutter in one room. Want to get out of debt? Cut up the credit card today. Want to lose weight? Walk away from the Oreos. Better yet, don’t give your food nemesis kitchen real estate in the first place. Want to develop a deeper relationship with God? Turn off the TV right now and start plowing through the pages of Scripture right here, right now. Choices.
2). I love social media as much as the next guy. It’s the perfect virtual rooftop on which to shout to the world my love of cats. However, for me personally, I don’t like it for the self-centered nature it takes on when we use it to help spur on our resolutions making big proclamations for worldwide accountability. In my own experience, I’ve found deep and lasting change comes in the quiet moments when the only other Person involved in my change is the Holy Spirit Himself. No one else is privy to the information we share in an effort to put me on the right track.
3). Mainly I hate resolutions because they are performance-driven. The success of them is based on our accomplishments, what we achieve, what we’ve conquered. Instead, I believe that real change starts inside with answering the most basic question: “where is your heart?” It is with this idea in mind that I want to spend the next few weeks dissecting Psalm 112.
“Praise the Lord!
Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
Who delights greatly in His commandments.
His descendants will be mighty on earth;
The generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches will be in his house,
And his righteousness endures forever.
Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;
He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
A good man deals graciously and lends;
He will guide his affairs with discretion.
Surely he will never be shaken;
The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.
He will not be afraid of evil tidings;
His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
His heart is established;
He will not be afraid,
Until he sees his desire upon his enemies.
He has dispersed abroad,
He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever;
His horn will be exalted with honor.
The wicked will see it and be grieved;
He will gnash his teeth and melt away;
The desire of the wicked shall perish” (Psalm 112, NKJV).
In the exercise world, it is taught that the strength of our core, that is our abs, determines how well we perform in sports and daily activities such as gardening and housework. A strong core improves balance and posture, strengthens the lower back and of course, aids in weight loss. With a strong solid core, the rest of our muscles are able to do their jobs more effectively.
The same could be said of our hearts. With a solid foundation, that is, a heart grounded in Scripture, Godly character is formed from which flow Godly decisions in both simple and difficult experiences. This is a life-long pursuit, and I daresay the noblest of all. If you need a resolution, a goal, a new habit, chase this. For from it many of the other less meaningful pursuits will either lose their allure or find accomplishment beyond your wildest dreams because of the character from which they are built.