I think discovering why New Year’s resolutions fail is certainly a step in the right direction.
For most of us, a New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.
At first, we treat New Year's like it’s some sort of life-changing event.
We believe this for a few days (hours?), but then conclude: If my life was never-ending failure last year, it's probably still going to be never-ending failure this year also.
The resolution I am most familiar with in my line of work is people’s expressed resolution to be “good” or even just “better”.
Every year I hear a number of people say to me on Christmas Eve, “You know what Father? from now on I’m going to start going to church every week!”
Who can honestly say: 'I went to the gym for months and didn’t lose an ounce!” or “I studied/ practised 30 minutes daily for months and I learned zilch!” or “I put $5 a week in a tin and when I looked in the tin after six months the tin was empty'?
So in a way, we ministers have a week’s head start on everyone when it comes to witnessing the breaking of New Year’s resolutions.
A gazillion people around the world have already made New Year’s resolutions for 2019, and yet, according to research, most will have given up on their resolutions before January is over.
Last year The Independent in Britain reported that social fitness network Strava analysed over 31.5 million global January activities and pinpointed the second Friday in January as “Quitters' Day” - the day people are most likely to give up on their New Year’s resolutions.
I’ve been musing lately on the three most common reasons people give up on their resolution to be “good” or “better”.
I think these three are among the most common reasons why people give up on New Year’s resolutions.
Firstly, they blame others.
If you think other people are the reason why you are where you are, then you are disadvantaging yourself more than you realise.
You can’t build any type of virtue or muscle without resistance, which is why almost every great success story is a story of someone who beat the odds.
Jesus was constantly cut down by the religious leaders of his day, but in the end, they unwittingly helped him attain his goals.
If you attribute your success or failure to others, rather than work towards your goals, you will wait for others to change, and that may never happen.
Secondly, most people simply give up.
It sounds clichéd and too simple to be true, but people’s well planned New Year’s resolutions fail because they didn’t work their plan, not because their plan didn’t work.
Who can honestly say: “I went to the gym for months and didn’t lose an ounce!” or “I studied/ practised 30 minutes daily for months and I learned zilch!” or “I put $5 a week in a tin and when I looked in the tin after six months the tin was empty!”?
Actually, that last story is kinda true.
Seriously, chances are your New Year’s resolutions will work if you do.
And thirdly, faith.
After a while people simply stop believing that their New Year’s resolutions are possible.
People will start believing in you the day after you do.
However, it’s you who must take the first step and believe in yourself.
Perhaps it’s because we’re all viewing TV fiction as unattainable reality, but sadly so many today no longer believe in their still massive potential.
As a result, many have given up even making New Year’s resolutions now.
The only resolution many people will see in 2019 is on their TV; perhaps in 4K Ultra HD if they’re lucky!
However, God is the King of comebacks.
Look throughout history or any of the world’s spiritual books and you will see that God often chose big sinners so that we can believe anybody can make a comeback.
A very successful woman once told me that hope is something that the soul thrives on and that hope is what drives the determination to be that one in a million to encourage the millions around you.
Remember, your past is not your future.
God specialises in second chances and so you should also.
Happy New Year my friends.