Stop Making Resolutions

I am not a big fan of January. 

It’s not necessarily because of the cloudy skies and painful cold where I live. And it’s not completely because January feels like this month-long let down after two straight months of holidays, eating and celebrations. Although those are good candidates to dislike the first month of the year, the biggest reason I have issues with January is the pressure to make resolutions. Yes, that list of aspirational goals that remind me of everything I didn’t do last year and the crippling guilt that goes along with it.

If you’re like me, January 1st hits and you quickly scan your life for 5-10 things to probably fail at by February. It’s usually something along the lines of, “get healthy,” “get organized,” and “read my Bible and pray more.” Those are great things that all of us should do, but I don’t believe tackling them all at once in the first two weeks is going to lead to success. That’s why gyms plan on a majority of new memberships not showing up after the first few weeks. They know they can sell more than their space can accommodate because most of us have great intentions but fall short on the follow-through.

Now that we’re all depressed, let me suggest a different way this year. Instead of going through the motions of listing those aspirational resolutions that may or may not pan out, why not start with eliminating a few things that always get in the way of our goals? We all have habits and routines that if not eliminated first, will derail any good intentions we have. 

For instance:

  1. Stop looking at your phone for the first 30 minutes of the day so you now have more time in the morning for a quiet time with your Bible and God.
  2. Eliminate one unhealthy food in the first 30 days to see if you can make it a habit and create space for something healthier later.
  3. Stop making excuses for why you can’t be in a biblical community this year. Eliminating those knee-jerk responses will help you finally take the jump into a small group and accountability.
  4. Stop hanging out with negative people in your life. See #3 for how to find those life-giving new relationships.
  5. Stop over committing to things that will not ultimately matter, so you can have the margin to commit to things that will — like serving somewhere in your church or volunteering time to a local organization making a difference.

So let’s finally have a successful (and guilt free) January by committing together to not making any resolutions this year!

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About the author

Chris Surratt is a ministry consultant and coach with more than twenty years of experience serving the local church. Chris served on the Executive Teams at Cross Point Church in Nashville, TN., and Seacoast Church in Charleston, S.C., prior to becoming the Discipleship and Small Groups Specialist for LifeWay Christian Resources. He is the author of Small Groups for the Rest of Us: How to Design Your Small Groups System to Reach the Fringes.