New Year. New Me?

New Year’s resolutions – the sooner you make them, the sooner you break them or another chance for us to get it right?

Cliché and tired. Those are the words that instantaneously spring to mind when I think of the phrase: ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ (NYRs) and I have a not-so-sneaky suspicion that I am not alone! Why are we so tired of NYRs? I believe it is because we’ve grown increasingly tired of failing gloriously at maintaining our NYRs or more to the matter, admitting to the world that we have, once again, successfully botched yet another year because we did not keep up with some sentences we may or may not have scribbled on a bit on paper, in the dying moments of the last year.

The resolutions we once loved have painstakingly become chores

Moreover, in the very unlikely event that these NYRs are kept, we find that after a while we start feeling a bit ‘meh’.  The resolutions we once loved have painstakingly become chores and even worse, we feel like we’re putting in more than we are getting out; as the economists so succinctly put it, the law of diminishing returns sets in.

Every day, when you open your eyes, the perfect opportunity presents itself to do things that excite and make you better!

Now, we are even being actively encouraged to ditch NYRs because they are obviously passé and quite frankly no one wants to feel guilty four days into the New Year only to carry that same guilt all year round and then get over it just in time to make another guilt NYR list. We do not have to wait till the start of a new year to do the things we want to do. START NOW!

Every day, when you open your eyes, the perfect opportunity presents itself to do things that excite and make you better! Plus, when we take things each day at a time, we will feel less overwhelmed with our life’s to-do list; because that’s essentially what NYRs are – life’s annual to-do list.  

Like regular to-do lists; we end up going through the year in fear of our NYRs. We begin to gauge our growth, and consequently our worth and happiness, on the things we have [not] crossed off the list. I do not think it’s wrong to set goals for yourselves – in fact I encourage it but if we live solely for the expectations we’ve placed on ourselves, one of two things are sure to happen: we will not be able to keep up – causing guilt and shame or we develop “what’s next” syndrome, always in a rush to cross the next thing off – absentmindedly going through life. By never stopping to smell the flowers; we start to merely exist. Sometimes, it’s okay to just be.

REMINDER: true joy and satisfaction is found in Christ. 

Due to ‘New Year, New Me’ propaganda; we are forced to instantaneously appear different from who we were the previous year – albeit a few hours prior – or face ridicule. We are celebrated when we disregard the previous year because, you know, we love the ‘out with the old, in with the new’ mantra. It’s okay to reminisce and be mindful of the past – it’s not okay to romanticise and revel in it.

I hate to be Cena the Cynic but who decided a year should consist of 365(+1) days? Why isn’t it 879 days or 250 days? Don’t even get started on months! So basically I’m just to accept this as the norm because a bunch of really old men thought it okay to group them this way? I. THINK. NOT. If I’m being honest, I think the way it has been calculated needs a review – there quite simply isn’t enough time!

Cynicism and ‘dates are just a social construct’ aside, you cannot deny that there is something rather serendipitous about the dawning of the New Year. It is exhilarating to know you’ve conquered 365(+1) days. Sometimes, it is completely okay (and justified) to be a cliché! Bask and bathe in the creme de la cliché, just because it’s obvious doesn’t make it any less true or any less valid! It is the universal prompt to do all the things you’ve put off; it is the one time in the world (bar time differences) when you and everyone else in the world share the same emotions – anticipation and hope! 

Also, knowing that our joy and satisfaction comes from God through Christ we can make our NYRs (if we choose to do so) knowing that our success rate does not define who we are! We can celebrate being new people because this serves as a reminder that in Christ we are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17)! As Christians we are called to renew ourselves continually not only on landmark dates and the good news is there is no yearly deadline for this! Once we start to renew your minds, we will find that our NYRs become less of a weight; we will find that we are more alert to the real changes that need to occur in our lives to make us more Christ-like! We must create resolutions that allow our relationship with God to flourish. 

Our resolutions reflect our priorities and most of our resolutions revolve our physical / social appearance and wellbeing; granted there’s the occasional “must read my bible more” but does that stem from guilt or a genuine desire to wear the words of your Heavenly Father on your heart? Won’t better resolutions be “a genuine desire for God” “learn to love enemies”? I’m definitely not knocking the “glo up” resolutions #EVERYDAYSLAY – they have their benefits and rewards but as Christians they simply can’t be our priority! The condition of your soul is paramount!

“Soul [heart] resolutions” cannot be achieved by sheer willpower and dedication like regular resolutions. If that occurs we’re trying to justify our salvation with our works – BIG NO – we need to constantly and consistently depend on the God and the finished work of Christ – his death and resurrection. This is the hope that our faith is anchored to! This is what ought to enable us to achieve these SRs.

I believe when we begin realign our resolutions to address our souls; we will start to find the peace, contentment and satisfaction we seek from our regular resolutions – and these will not be fleeting.

I have two resolutions, I believe everyone should have on to their list or bear in their hearts (if you aren’t the list-making kind):

“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.”

Jonathan Edwards.

Enjoy the New Year!

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