Did you ever stop and ask yourself why we take this time of year to make resolutions for ourselves? I think it’s because the beginning of a new year serves as a good checkpoint and marker in our journey to start over with a clean slate, as we move out with the old and in with the new. It’s a popular time for us to pause, reflect, and hit the reset button on our lives.
But therein lies the problem. Our resets don’t last very long. In fact, eighty-percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by mid-February! We vow to improve ourselves: eat healthier, be a better parent, be a better spouse, stop smoking, or be kinder, to name a few. Most of these fail in just a few weeks!
There are many studies and analyses that give us reasons as to why our resolutions fail. Here are just a few:
- Your resolution wasn’t specific enough
- Your resolution was too specific
- Your resolution takes up too much time
- You need more dopamine
- You aren’t believing in yourself
- Your resolution is too expensive
- You didn’t anticipate other external conflicts or setbacks
Personally, I do not find this list of “reasons” to be the main factors as to why we fail to keep our resolutions. I think we fail because we need a new “root system” and “our trees” are in desperate need of some deep pruning by our Holy Father. Have you ever taken care of a plant that didn’t have healthy roots? It might look okay at first. The branches look good; the leaves are colorful and bright. Over time, you might prune off a few dead branches to keep it looking nice, but eventually, no matter how much pruning you do, that tree will wither and die because it cannot survive with a failing root system.
Are we really any different than a plant with a poor root system when it comes to our New Year’s resolutions? So often, we commit to improving ourselves with only short term success because we are operating from a place, or root system, that is not basally healthy. Until we secure that foundation, it will be difficult to meet and keep the goals we have set for ourselves—no matter how great the resolution might be.
For myself, the new year is a time to check in to make sure that I am rooted in Christ, because anything I try to do, relying on my own power, will just result in more dead branches! Sure, I have goals, and dreams, and things I would like to see happen this year— and you likely do as well. Let’s promise to commit these goals to the Lord and ask Him to help us become the person He wants us to be this new year.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; (John 15:5-6 NIV)
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