You don’t have to wait for a New Year to roll around to enact change. All you have to do is be intentional about making the change.
It is already the second week of the New Year and many of us had New Year’s resolutions we hoped to achieve. Sadly, many of us (including me) have already botched our New Year’s resolutions. But take heart! Even though we have already botched our resolutions does not mean we have to give up, and it certainly doesn’t mean we have failed.
"All or Nothing" Mentality
We often think if we fail our New Year’s resolutions by January, we are failures. This is not true at all. Each day, we get a brand new start. This is the beautiful thing about a new day. Each day is a new opportunity to do great things. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to eat healthier. (This is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions to make.) Sadly, on January 2, I crumbled and ate cookies.
Even though we “botched” our New Year resolutions, this does not mean we are without hope. We can start over again. I can still try again the next day to commit to healthier eating habits, and if I mess up, I can keep trying. In the same way, you get a new start each day too. Why? Because what matters is getting back up, brushing the dust off your shoulders, and trying again. Whether your New Year's resolution is eating healthier, spending more time with God, being creative each day, or something else, you can start again tomorrow. You don’t have to wait for a New Year to roll around to enact change. All you have to do is be intentional about making the change.
Often, we have an "all or nothing" mentality. This means that we think we have to do it completely right or we have failed. "All or nothing" thinking needs to be exorcised from our minds. As an example, even if my eating pattern didn’t go as I hoped, I’m not a complete failure. If I added in more veggies or fruits to my diet, then those are little wins. Maybe the resolution to “eat healthier” is a little daunting, but baby steps will get me there. Each day is a new chance to make healthier decisions and fuel my body with nourishing foods. Similarly, if you have already “botched” your New Year's resolution, think of a few baby steps to get you back in the right direction.
Trying Our Best
Nobody is perfect. We all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). This means we will never fully be perfect until we are with Christ. A great New Year's resolution many people have is to spend more time with God. Even if you have totally messed up in these first few days of the New Year, skipping a Bible reading or missing a small group session, that doesn’t mean you can’t try again. Start over now. Make the intentional decision that you will talk to God and spend time with Him. In the same way, if a New Year's resolution is to start a Bible reading plan and you’ve already missed the first few days, there's no reason to abandon ship. Start over again. Give yourself grace and try again. Just because we fall off the saddle doesn’t mean we can’t get back on the horse.
God wants us to work towards our goals and not give up. Galatians 6:9 tells us, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” As long as our New Year's resolutions are in the will of God, they will come to fruition so long as we work towards those goals. God will not magically give us everything we yearn for on a silver platter. We need to pray for God’s help, but we also have to put in some leg work too. In my case, I can pray for God to help me make healthier eating decisions, but I also need to do the things I can do to help myself, such as buying fresh produce and avoiding buying unhealthy foods. Likewise, if we have the resolution to read the Bible more, we need to pray for God to help us stay motivated to read His Word, but we also have to set aside time to read the Bible and meditate on it. Faith-based New Year's resolutions can be extremely hard for our flesh nature, but with God’s help, we can succeed.
Starting New (Again)
Throughout the year, you may have difficult seasons of finishing your New Year’s resolutions, and in all reality, you may not finish any of them. However, what matters is that you tried. You didn’t give up and that is what counts. Nobody is going to be perfect and God doesn’t expect you to be. He just wants you to try your best and move on. There will be many ups and downs throughout this year, but it’s important to give yourself grace. You don’t have to be perfect about following your New Year resolutions, but you can try your best.
Perfectionism is rampant in the world today and it is something I personally struggle with in my daily life. If you struggle with perfectionism too, you know how painful it can be. Our perfectionism tries to scream at us that if we don’t follow our goals to the max then we are a failure, but this isn’t true. Take this in: You are not a failure if you don’t complete your New Year resolutions. Read it again: You are not a failure if you don’t complete your New Year resolutions.
All you can do is try your best and never give up. God created us all amazingly and wonderfully (Psalm 139:13-16). You are capable of doing amazing things. Whether that be eating healthier, getting a new job, or running a marathon, you are highly capable. Therefore, you don’t have to give up on your New Year's resolutions if you have already botched them. If you want to give it another shot, you can. Give yourself grace, compassion, and kindness.
Maybe you started a New Year's resolution only to discover that it wasn’t the thing you need right now. If that is the case, it is okay. You are not a quitter for stopping a New Year’s resolution goal. If you want to create a new goal, great. If you mess up, get up and try again, great. All that matters is that you tried your best. Your best is more than good enough!
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Tommaso79
Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.