The ball hadn’t even dropped yet and I was already over the hashtags. #NewYearWhoDis #NewYearNewMe #FitLife The season of re-creation of self is upon us, and it is, unfortunately for some, going to lead to disappointment. 

The truth is, most resolutions just don’t find themselves resolved by the end of the year. In fact, one survey cited that just 8 percent of Americans achieve their resolutions each year. That number is troubling, especially if you have ever stood with me among the 92 percent who didn’t achieve their resolutions. 

So what gives? Are 92 percent of people simply unmotivated or is there some kind of deeper issue? Speaking for myself, I’d say a little bit of both. Here’s what helped me break the cycle and finally bring resolve to my list of resolutions.

Resolution Defined

The key to accomplishing a New Year’s resolution is to set one. Although social media and past attempts can make it seem that our resolutions are a wishlist of lifestyle changes, this is not so. By definition, a resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something. This means that resolutions will always imply that action be taken.

To put it in uber biblical terms, resolutions are like repentance. Our sorrow, desire for change or even remorse are not enough until we direct our actions and decisions to convey them. When we set our resolutions, we should be making a declaration that we are so firmly decided to head toward this change that we are committed to the process that comes with it.

Sometimes the way we are can be in direct conflict with who and Whose we are. There can be an almost unexplainable tension in our everyday lives. If you are unsure of where to focus your resolutions this year, go after the conflict and contention. Look at your life and everyday experiences, what are you so tired of that you are willing to go all in when it comes to working toward seeing real change?

That is your resolution.

Ready? Set Goal.

When it comes to working toward your resolution, don’t just settle for different. Take the time to think about what the fulfillment of your resolution would look like manifested in your life. Set a goal that is specific, realistic and measurable to move you toward making that a reality. 

For example, if your resolution is to get in shape, a goal could be to run a nine-minute mile by June or to be flexible enough to touch your toes without bending your knees (guilty) by March. If your resolution is to go back to school, a goal could be choosing three programs to apply to by the next enrollment deadline.

Notice that each of my examples has an achievement date attached to it that is not December 31. A year is a really long time. Procrastination keeps us from our destinations by stopping us from ever beginning our journeys.

By breaking your resolution into a series of SMART goals, you are making something that could appear overwhelming much more manageable. You are also more likely to get started because you will have less time to keep putting it off.

This system will also leave room for any necessary adjustments as the Holy Spirit leads you through this next year. Though it is important that we turn our resolutions into goals, and have plans for achieving them, it is ultimately God who will establish our efforts. Even in the process of trying to change, we can take our frustrations and our failures to our Father in heaven who is the giver of wisdom, guidance and strength. As Christians, we can rest in this. 

Like content like this? Go deeper with articles covering faith, culture, life, and more in each new issue of RELEVANT Magazine. Click here to subscribe.