Different persons have different views of change, and of course New Year’s Resolutions are all about change and improvement. One of the fundamental assumptions behind New Year’s Resolutions is of course that people can change all by themselves. I would call this mostly a myth. If there is one thing you learn from studying conversion narratives, and breaking of addiction narratives, it is that people mostly are unable to change themselves without outside help. And if we are talking about a radical change, not just some little self-help feature of one’s life (eating less and losing five pounds), then frankly it involves an intervention from outside oneself, and sometimes a divine intervention. I have been reading the first David Crosby autobiography ‘Long Time Gone’ and while it was inspiring to see that a dozen or so people did an intervention to try and get Crosby to get help for his drug addictions, including his very best friends such as Graham Nash and Jackson Browne, in fact the intervention failed. Not until Crosby was arrested and thrown into jail in Texas did actual change begin to happen. And it was not just that Crosby didn’t want to change badly enough, though that is part of the story. It’s that real change out of a bondage situation— in bondage to sin, to drugs, to alcohol, to sex, to sports etc. requires not only a successful intervention from somewhere, but then a continuing monitoring and enabling to go in the right direction thereafter. In other words, it requires continued outside help.
So while I have no problems with people making New Year’s Resolutions, they would do well to not just make them but submit them to God and pray for ongoing divine intervention in their lives, so they can live up to them, if that is their resolutions are worth following. Resolutions require more than individual resolve to become accomplishments.