I’ll exercise (more). I’ll stop doing ______. I’ll get (more) organized. Sound familiar? At least for me, these are all the usual New Year’s resolutions that I’ve made in the past. However, a few years ago, I decided that even after getting plenty of practical and impractical tips, it was hard to maintain some of those changes for more than a few months. And considering all of the chaos of 2020, it seems like the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions for 2021 might not be enough to change things for the better.
New Year’s resolutions are connected to the ancient tradition of year ending bonfires meant to chase away the demons of the past. Part of the reason why the rituals were so elaborate is that the unstated assumption was that you would need to perform the same ones next year because those old habits would have returned. Making the same New Year’s Resolutions every year is the modern-day equivalent of those yearly bonfires.
Making a resolution won’t change your behavior. However, making better choices is one way that will change your behavior. And, as we have seen this past year with the Covid-19 pandemic, we may make progress in one area of our lives but lose ground in another. How do you maintain or regain what seems to be lost ground? For starters, stay focused on the right thing. All too often when we decide to completely change our lives, it’s because of what someone said that may have wounded us. We then get frustrated when we don’t see the changes fast enough to get the attention of those same people (whose opinions really shouldn’t have that much control over our lives). Maybe it’s a weakness in human nature, but we become in some cases obsessed with what and who others saying we are or are not. Or even worse, we speak equally destructive words to ourselves.
Instead of repeating what others say we are or are not, we should spend more time saying yes to God and who he says we are. But so many of us can’t hear who God says we are because we are too busy telling him who we aren’t and what we can’t do.
One interesting definition for the word resolution is answer. The question is who or what are you answering in 2021 with your New Year’s resolutions? There should be only answer to God as you begin every new year: Yes. "Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you,” comes from Job 22:21.
YES means that we agree with who God says we are. But it also means that we are yielded, expectant and submitted. Yielded to his direction, Expecting his presence and Submitted to his purpose. It’s not about being perfect; it’s about being yielded. Don’t make changes to be perfect. Make changes so that you can be perfectly yielded.
God’s Blessings, Peace and Success to you in 2021!
Shewanda Riley, PhD. is a Dallas, Texas based author of “Love Hangover: Moving From Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.