I've heard it said that a New Year's resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other. Maybe this is why I've never been a big New Year resolution person. Recently, I saw a statistic that says 55% of Americans either never or only infrequently set New Year's resolutions. I guess this puts me in the majority.
I'm probably this way for the same reason so many others have a certain distain for resolutions. Once made, rarely have I managed to keep them. Again, it looks like I'm in the majority, as apparently only 8% of Americans are always successful in keeping their resolutions. So, I've thought to myself, if I know going in that I won't succeed, why bother?
I think part of my problem (and perhaps yours also) is that I've often set unrealistic resolutions, like "I'm going to lose 30 pounds in January." It's not that there is anything wrong with setting resolutions. But, in setting the bar higher than I know I can jump, I don't jump. Or, if I do jump, I fail.
Does this sound familiar? So, what if...what if as this New Year approaches, instead of not resolving to do anything, we just set the bar lower, where we at least make it possible to succeed? I'm hoping that this should provide some motivation to try. I'm not talking about making inconsequential resolutions, by the way, like "I resolve to eat in 2011." And, I'm not talking about long, drawn-out projects that can't be accomplished in the short-term. No, I'm talking about simply trying to make reasonable, yet solid resolutions--any one of which can be accomplished in a day.
I think that with the right attitude going in, the following resolutions can help to get the New Year off to a positive start. And, these are resolutions that most everyone has a good shot of accomplishing - something that your family can live with whether you try them alone or as a family. Whether you decide to try all 30 resolutions or just one; whether you attempt to do them all in January or space them out throughout the year, there is no pressure in pursuing this plan. Also, there is no mystical order that these resolutions should be attempted, and there is nothing wrong with repeating one or more throughout the month. Find the resolution you like best, and start with it. Oh yes, there's one more thing: There is a hidden agenda in these resolutions. I'm hoping that as we try them, that we'll end up incorporating some of them into our lives as part of who we are and what we do day-in and day-out.
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Jim Liebelt is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, most recently serving as Senior Editor of Publications for HomeWord. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, trainer, instructor and speaker. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com.