Here in the first week of a New Year it seems that New Year’s resolutions are almost a thing of the past; that all pretense of our ability to change our behavior, even in the smallest ways, has been dropped. Perhaps, this is only a personal observation more than an actual fact. Perhaps I am mistaken and people are as committed as ever to personal improvement but I have not heard as much about resolutions as in years past. It makes me think people have just given up and that concerns me.

Usually one hears more about New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, get in shape, eat healthier, or cease smoking. Have we all decided that we are incapable of such changes? Is even a little self-improvement so monumental as to be doomed from the start? Have we been so poorly resolute in years past that it seems foolish to attempt such changes knowing that we are destined for failure within a short time? I certainly hope that I am wrong and way off base because if we are resolved to not make resolutions I fear the unintended consequences of such a course of inaction. When we believe that we are dropping the pretense of self-improvement then we resign ourselves to mediocrity at best.

For clarification, a resolution is a type of oath or a type of commitment we make to ourselves to change some negative behavior pattern which ultimately frees us of enslaving habits. The Bible encourages us simply to be men and women of our word rather than take oaths (Matthew 6:33-37). Honestly, the making of a New Year’s resolution is far less important than simply being resolute about your personal goals at any part of the year. I would hope that you would not wait until the beginning of a New Year to make an important life change. I would also hope that you would not let one small slip from your path cause you to abandon your course of self-improvement toward self-mastery and excellence. The encouragement from the Savior is to be resolute regardless of the season. His words inspire us to be at our best always, in every season, and in all that we attempt to achieve in this life. If you have already smoked more, eaten more, broken your exercise routine, do not quit now! What kind of people will we become if we decide that our wishes and dreams are merely pipe dreams or otherwise unachievable? At least one answer to this question is that we become slothful, irresponsible, childish people who cannot be trusted; the direct opposite of what God wants from us as His followers. In whatever you attempt this year, BE RESOLUTE!

Bryan Collins

Minister, Central Church of Christ