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Rethinking Resolutions

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It's almost mid-January. This is when most people start rethinking their resolutions. The excuses begin. "I don't really need to lose that much weight." "I can start saving money next month." "Work is way too busy right now to plan for a vacation." Why is it so hard to stick with certain commitments? Why do so many people fail, even though they spend months preparing for the special moment to begin working on their goals?

There are many reasons why someone might give up on something before he or she starts. Sometimes, the goals are unrealistic. Sometimes, the person is unsure of his or her abilities. And sometimes, the person feels daunted by the goals, assuming he or she is alone in facing them.

I am no different in my quest to accomplish new and great things each year. I gear up for success. I fill my journal (or Pinterest boards) with motivational quotes and tips for losing weight, saving money, making time for family, giving back to my community, etc. Each year, I accomplish about 10 percent of what I intend. As a self-described "goal-oriented" person, this frustrates me. I wanted to figure out how something that inspires me in early January can become utterly draining by March.

I came across an article that discussed New Year's resolutions. The writer gave the following advice:

"Pursue the challenge of goals with excitement and humility. Expect challenges and prepare for lifelong maintenance once you have achieved your goals."

These words were eerily familiar to me. They described my approach to faith and my relationship with God. Some of the challenges I face in my spiritual disciplines were very similar to my resolutions. I would be incredibly committed, then lukewarm when facing an obstacle.

As Christians, I feel like we have a unique opportunity to be supported in our resolutions. We can seek deeper meaning for each goal. For instance, if our quest for weight loss is equated to acceptance or self-worth, our relationship with Christ can help shift the focus to a healthier psychological motivator. Another example might be getting rid of a vice. If overspending is the habit we want to break, we can look to our Christian understanding of greed, generosity, idolatry, familial obligation, etc., to get to the root of our behavior.

In any case, our actions are so closely aligned to our beliefs about the world that we would benefit from addressing our theological backgrounds when writing our 2017 lists. The most reassuring component of a Christ-centered new year's resolutions is knowing that we are moving forward with the most loving, accepting and powerful God. "What, then, shall we say in response to these things?If God is for us, who can be against us?" – Romans 8:31

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