It’s that time of year again. Of making New Year’s resolutions. But based on both statistics and personal experience, we find that New Year’s Resolutions don’t work! So if you failed to keep last year’s resolutions, take heart. You’re not alone! We’ve probably all made them, only to feel discouraged or even guilty for not sticking to them.
New Year’s resolutions are like trying to stick a band-aid on a festering wound without first cleaning it out.
Wounds need cleaning to heal well, and it’s the same with resolutions. They can’t stick if we’re just trying to add them on to cluttered lives. First, we’ve got to clean house. And get rid of all the unnecessary junk we cling to.
This was something I learned when we started going green. We had great intentions, but worthless without action. Like my resolve get rid of batteries. So we started getting rid of stuff and searching for replacements. And some of our finds thrilled me to pieces! Like our dynamo-powered windup flashlights. And nifty solar-powered alarm clocks (pictured above), that even have a light and a snooze button!
Unfortunately, we couldn’t cut out all batteries. Things like cell phones and lap tops won’t run without them. But at least they’re long life batteries, right? And we’ve made amazing progress! Because first we cleaned up, and then applied the changes.
Now I know batteries aren’t really a big deal in light of eternity. But the mark they leave on the environment is a big deal. Big enough that I wanted to cut back on that waste.
Yet how often do we resolve, perhaps even year after year, to make changes that really do count in important ways?
Perhaps we resolve, every year, to spend more time with family or keeping a cleaner house, only to get sidetracked with computers, phones, or TVs. Then going through a cycle of temporary guilt, followed by justifying our actions, and never making progress.
We learned from our battery dilemma that overcoming any bad habit or addiction (food, TV, shopping, or whatever), takes decisive action. Like getting rid of and cutting out the bad or unnecessary.
But often, instead of cutting the things that take us off track, we keep doing them. And even add more of the same!
We get more TV channels. We try new junk food. And of course, we just have to visit that new mall… And then end up feeling guilty and discouraged.
But take courage! Seeing the need for change is a good beginning!
Just don’t stop. Keep going!! Shut the TV off (or get rid of it). Throw those chips out and take a walk. Or empty your closet and count just how many clothes you already have instead of visiting that new mall. You can do it — but it first takes some house cleaning!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1).
How do you stay on track? What actions have you taken, or will you take, to assure victory over an ongoing battle?