Why I'm Not Setting New Year's Resolutions

Amber Ginter

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Updated Jan 02, 2024
Why I'm Not Setting New Year's Resolutions

I'm making a list of things I would like to achieve, and then asking and relying on the Lord's power within me to reach them.... acknowledging that my goals for the new year may not be His goals but surrendering them anyway.

Between December 31st, and the first week of January, almost everyone has one thing in common: they desire to set New Year's resolutions and keep them. At least for the first week, right?

New Year's resolutions in and of themselves are beautiful things. They encourage us to analyze our lives, edit, and make changes where needed. They inspire us to think deeper, dream bigger, and explore how we truly can be the best versions of ourselves.

The problem is this: by the second week of January, reality sets in and we fail. We eat too many cookies, skip one day at the gym, forget to take our vitamins, and forget about our goals. Life gets busy, and suddenly, we're exactly where we left off last year. Or at least it feels that way. 

Disappointment and comparison set in and we give up. We don't feel like trying anymore because we've already failed. We've messed up, screwed up, and it's time to throw in the towel. But what if we don't have to?

1. Ask for God's Help

If we want to improve our New Year's resolutions in the upcoming season, the first thing we have to do is ask God to help us. It's not your strength that will enable you to run a 5k, lose 10lbs, eat less sugar, or break your addiction to work. 

Christ reminds us in Philippians 4:13 that we can do all things through Him and His power. The verse doesn't say that we will be able to achieve those things self-sufficiently. It says just the opposite: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (KJV). This is why Jesus reminds us in John 15:5 to stay connected to the tree of life (Himself).  "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing" (KJV). 

Acknowledging that we need the Lord's help to change and achieve these goals is just the beginning of improving our lives. 

Truthfully, I'm not setting New Year's resolutions for this year. I'm making a list of things I would like to achieve, and then asking and relying on the Lord's power within me to reach them. By His will, strength, grace, providence, and might alone. That means acknowledging that my goals for the new year may not be His goals but surrendering them anyway. 

2. Remember You Are Human

Now that we've established that I'm not setting New Year's resolutions, but asking what God wants to achieve through my ideal goals this year, I want to remind you of one simple truth: you are human. 

Though we are masterfully created in the beauty of God, our Savior, and Creator, He is God, and we are not (Genesis 1-2). Jesus Christ is the only perfect person on the entire planet. And we? We are sinful creatures redeemed by His dying love for us. 

This means that although we may live and walk in the Spirit and even achieve great things, we will make mistakes. We will stumble, fall, and more likely than not, not achieve all the ideal things we'd like to in the next year. If we can learn to take the pressure off ourselves, especially when we have unrealistic expectations, and remember that we're human, this will enable us to push more firmly into Christ and His power within us. 

For me, one of the hardest lessons I'm learning is how to rest. How to forgive myself. How to not be so hard on myself when I work so hard and still fail. Maybe you can relate?

But I am flesh and blood. My bones break, my body gets tired, and at the end of the day, I simply can't do it all. More hours at work, on the treadmill, in the gym, in the kitchen, or at the mall won't help me achieve my goals, but accepting that I'm human and need God's strength to move on and achieve great things will. 

3. Do Less, and Be More

Perhaps the most challenging goal I have for this coming year is one that can't be checked off a list or run in a certain number of miles. It includes a state of mindfulness, slowing down, and in a sense, "achieving" less. 

If I could encourage you with one thing this next year, it would be to do less and be more wherever you are, whatever you may find yourself doing. This advice was created by my husband, myself, and my counselor as a solution to my addiction to work and productivity. 

As someone with high-functioning anxiety, I'm always looking for the next task to accomplish or an event or trip to plan. I thrive on being busy and being on the go. But looking over my life recently, I've realized I don't want to live that way. I want to see the sunset. I want to look at and taste my food when I eat it. I desire to truly hear my husband when he speaks to me. I want to hunger and thirst for God more than my Facebook feed, Instagram app, or pending text notifications. 

This year, I want to work hard. I want to accomplish the things Christ has called me to. I still believe Christians are called to work hard. But more so, I want to live life. I want to rest in doing less and being more. Being present. Being joyful. Being more in love with the Lord. Being more on fire for Him. Being more attuned to the Spirit. Being more aware of His presence in my life. How He's working. How He's moving. How He's speaking. 

And maybe, doing less, and being more is how we will achieve the things that really matter this year. Not by setting more goals in our strength or power, but by surrendering our goals and ambitions to Him. Looking to Him. Making room in our hearts for Him. Not by doing more. But being. Breathing. Existing with Him. As we were created. 

Just like in the beginning. 

"But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:6-7, KJV). 

Agape, Amber

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Creative-Family

amber ginter headshotAmber Ginter is a teacher-turned-author who loves Jesus, her husband Ben, and granola. Growing up Amber looked for faith and mental health resources and found none. Today, she offers hope for young Christians struggling with mental illness that goes beyond simply reading your Bible and praying more. Because you can love Jesus and still suffer from anxiety. You can download her top faith and mental health resources for free to help navigate books, podcasts, videos, and influencers from a faith lens perspective. Visit her website at amberginter.com.