What about New Year’s Resolutions?

What about New Year’s Resolutions? January 2, 2015

A time-honored custom is to make New Year’s resolutions, decisions to use the new beginning offered by the new year to improve one’s life in some way.  Reportedly, 50% of people make such resolutions, but 89% fail to keep them.

This can be seen as evidence for the theological teaching about the bondage of the will.  But though moral self-improvement is largely fruitless, apart from the Gospel, are there are other kinds of resolutions (exercise, eat better, or keep a tidier desk [my goal year after futile year] that are worth making and might be realized?  (Though such non-moral resolutions fail too:  I’m told that new gym memberships soar at the first of the year, but that attendance plummets after just a few weeks.)

Have any of you actually kept a New Year’s resolution for the whole year or longer?  How did you manage that?  After the jump, some advice for doing so.

Joe Carter, Don’t Just Make a Resolution—Make a Habit.  This post makes an excellent distinction:  What we need to shoot for is not an act of will power but the cultivation (or elimination) of a habit.  The two are quite different.  Just as we can fall into bad habits, we can create good habits.

Tim Challies, How to Make a New Year’s Resolution that Sticks.  This post says that most of our resolutions are actually “wishes.”  An actual “resolution” has more to it.

Or should Christians foreswear all attempts at self-improvement?

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