Should a Christian make New Year’s Resolutions?

Yes. Resolving to do something is part of human nature. Giving up a bad habit, improving fitness, eating healthier, improving relationships can all be very helpful. However, just saying you’re going to do something, without having a plan to achieve the goal, is foolhardy, and the surest way to fail.

A New Year’s resolution has to be reasonable and if it is to be achieved, it must include these four elements:

  • It must be stated positively
  • It must be stated specifically
  • It must be important to you, the goal setter
  • It must be under your control

So, if you resolve to make a million dollars this year and have a job that pays you $25 an hour, there aren’t enough hours in the year to reach the million-dollar mark.  However, if you say you’re going to read the Bible through in a year, and that’s important to you, then setting a plan to reach that goal is under your control. You will be able to fulfill your resolution if you add discipline to the process.

Of course, not all resolutions are worthwhile, so a Christian should choose wisely.

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the church in the Roman city of Philippi, wrote:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12-15

Paul has a clear goal and is pursuing it with discipline. You may want to consider another suggestion of Paul:

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Colossians 3:14-15

Resolving to love others and daily asking God to let the peace of Christ rule in your heart is a great place to start. Resolving to spend time each day thanking God for all he has done for you, and will do for you, is also a way to enhance your life in ways that exercise and diet never can. Resolutions that not only change you, but those around you should also be on your list. Jesus offered one of the best resolutions for a follower of Christ. In Luke 6:27-28 we read one of his teachings:

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Luke 6:27-28

If we all resolved to follow that guidance, imagine how wonderful life would be in 2020.

When you make your New Year’s resolutions, make sure that one of them is to daily ask God to give you wisdom and strength to successfully achieve the others.