It’s time again to ring in a new year and make our resolutions. Yet only rarely do we manage to keep them. Both experience and statistics show this. So if you also fail to keep yours, take heart. You are not alone! Many of us have made them, only to feel discouraged or even guilty for not sticking to them.
Because when we come right down to it, resolutions are nothing more than band-aids. We would never put one on a dirty, festering wound without first cleaning it. The band-aid wouldn’t stick, and the injury wouldn’t heal well. And it’s the same with resolutions. We must take further steps if we want to make them stick.
Making resolutions stick
Resolutions don’t stick well to lives cluttered with rubbish or sin. We must first clear out all the unnecessary junk we cling to or let linger. And have a strategic plan for replacing it all with wholesome alternatives.
One case in point was the time I resolved to cut back on single-use disposable products. Protecting the environment and staying within my budget were worthy resolutions.
But I met with miserable failure, always reaching for foil, plastic wrap, or paper towels. Until I bought cleaning rags and reusable containers. Then those disposable products all but vanished from my shopping list.
Without proper planning, I had undermined my success by applying a pointless resolution. As useless as putting a band-aid on cancer.
When band-aids harm
My failure to switch to disposable products wasn’t a major issue. Yet failure to follow through on our objectives harms us on a deeper level. It brings a feeling of failure and defeat, often causing us to give up.
The real problem is that we apply band-aid remedies in many vital areas of life. And then failing to follow through, we end up feeling like lazy procrastinators at best. Or worthless failures at worst.
Resolutions are useful and productive only when backed by concrete plans. Only then do they result in lasting change.
5 common New Year resolutions
Do you keep making one or more of these five resolutions Christians often make year after year?
- Devote more time to prayer, Bible study, and family.
- Keep your home and garden clean and tidy.
- Cut back on computer, phone, or TV use.
- Spend less and save more.
- Eat healthier and exercise more.
This often turns into a vicious cycle of resolution followed by failure and remorse. Until we finally give up, without ever making progress.
Great resolutions are worthless without solutions.
Remember, resolutions are nothing more than intentions, not action. Without plans and action they achieve little.
Overcoming harmful habits or addictions (food, TV, shopping, or whatever) takes decisive action. First, we should get rid of anything that is wrong or fruitless.
But instead of ceasing such activities, we often continue or even increase them! We get more TV channels, try the latest junk food, or shop more and more. We sabotage our own success, ending in guilt and regret.
If this rings a bell for you, take heart! Seeing the need for change is a positive start. But you need to back it up with a smart plan!
Try the delete-and-add remedy
The delete-and-add method may seem drastic. But persistent failure signals the need for radical action. And it could transform your ineffectual band-aids into potent solutions. So if you’re tired of constant defeat, give it a try!
🙏 1. More prayer, Bible study, and family time
Delete apps, social media, or activities that steal your time with God and your family. Or use a timer to control overuse. Streamline your agenda by learning to say no. Focus on time with God and your family.
Start a Bible reading plan, and attend your church’s Bible studies and prayer groups. Start new family traditions like regular date nights and weekly Family-Fun-Nights.
🧹 2. Keep a clean and tidy home and garden
Bring order by removing junk and clutter from your home and garage. Set up a doable cleaning schedule. Hire help if you need it.
Take and display before-and-after pictures that mark progress and help you keep at it! And start inviting friends over to share your victories and your clean home!
💻 3. Less computer, phone, or TV time
Unsubscribe from emails or websites that don’t enrich your life. Don’t waste time or energy on the internet. If Netflix, or watching TV if pull you away from time with God and your loved ones, cut back.
Add wholesome, creative endeavors like reading and spending time with family and friends. Learn a helpful skill, visit housebound friends, or take up volunteer work!
💵 4. Spend less and save more
Cut unnecessary expenses. Donate or toss out excess belongings to avoid buying things you already have. Eat out less often. Learn to cultivate contentment.
Instead of shopping, form new habits like jogging or taking long walks. Or create new traditions, like Tuesday Tea with friends or library trips!
🍴 5. Eat better and exercise more
Cut out junk food and excess sweets, or even your favorite chair! Take the stairs. Find ways to become more active.
Join a support group or a gym. Walk with friends. Or take up photography and take snapshots on your daily walks.
Effective, lasting change doesn’t have to be an unattainable goal. Ask the Lord for strength and determination. Remember he wants you to succeede. But it’s time to stop applying band-aids and do some real surgery. Then we’ll find ourselves on the path to a victorious new year!
Happy fruitful and victorious new year to you all, from my cozy corner of Italy!
Images: Clock by NoName | Emojis from Emojipedia | Bear by Myriams-Fotos | Failure by Mick Haupt | Plan by wokandapix.
14 thoughts on “Resolutions: Band-Aids or Solutions?”
Your delete-and-add strategy makes good sense, Sheila. And I appreciate your examples. They suggest small steps we can take toward the big goals we’d like to achieve. Sometimes we sabotage ourselves by tackling a major change TOO strenuously, like adopting a strict diet and tackling intense workouts–at the same time. Few of us are capable of withstanding such drastic measures.
That’s so true, Nancy. Small steps are the best. It’s a lot like adopting an exercise program. It would be senseless (and harmful) to try jumping off the couch to run a marathon without training first. I am learning this with my physical therapy, as well. The first exercises he gave me seemed so ridiculously easy, until I tried them. And found them to be hard and painful beyond belief. Now I’m up to harder things, gradually re-building strength and flexibity! It’s usually best to start with baby steps!
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You brought me back to my own physical therapy after back surgery in 1996. Some of the exercises HURT, and of course, at first, there were no noticeable results. But I trusted the therapist, his training and experience. Sure enough, after a couple of weeks, I left the facility with no pain (though therapy continued another six weeks). I’ve continued with the exercises ever since! I’m reminded of Hebrews 12:10-11 about God disciplining us for our good, that no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. “Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hallelujah!
So true, Nancy. I didn’t realize you’d had back surgery, so you would know! Some of the exercises do hurt, but they also help. Little by little I keep getting better, and I can even sleep part of the night on my side now! I had missed that. 7 months on my back was tough, as I’d never been a back sleeper. It’s been 6 months since surgery, but the doctor said full recovery would take about a year. I’m just grateful to be recovering. Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement, my friend!
I’d say it took me 3-4 months to feel like my old self again. Perhaps you’ll be able to beat that one-year mark!
With the Lord’s help, yes! They said that it was because I’h had a double trauma. First the crushed vertebra. Damaged so much that they were at first fearful of nerve damage too. Then the trauma of surgery. Add to all that 40 days in bed. I guess it was a lot for my old body! But God is good, and I can do practically everything. I’m just anxious to start feeling, as you said, like my old self again! But God is soooo good and has been faithful throughout!
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Excellent!! Thank you. I am sharing this with friends on Facebook. Excellent and doable counsel! ♥️
I’m glad you liked it, Kathie. I personally was sick of just sticking on worthless band-aids! Doing self-surgery really does help, so I’m glad I threw the band-aids out!!
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So profoundly appropriate! Resolutions feel like a millstone around the neck–they just weigh me down and make me feel guilty because I know I’ll fail–and failing has no consequences with these. Thanks, Sheila!
Resolutions can weigh us down, for sure. Especially the guilt that often comes with our failure. Just remember that God wants us to succeed, and so is helping us every step of the way!!
Great advice! Thank you so much. This is helpful as I think through my goals for the coming year.
Thanks Mamalava, And I wish you success as you choose and plan for your goals! Here’s to a fruitful new year!!
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Oh, how I loved this post Sra. Sheila. Such wonderful truths, presented with love and kindness my friend. I pray a great many who choose to make New Year’s resolutions will read this. God’s blessings.
Thanks so much JD! Keeping our resolve is not easy. But one thing is certain: God is rooting for us. He wants us to succeed even more than we want it! And when we do, the rewards and benefits are amazing!