Oh resolutions. How we love them and often hate them at the same time. Whether it’s the new year or a changing season in our life, it’s always a good idea to reflect on how things are actually going. To get outside of the week-to-week rat race and to think about if we are actually doing what we want to do. Are we achieving the goals (or resolutions) we put in place?
In my experience and as I talk with more people, resolutions don’t typically work out. In fact, most big goals don’t always work out. Why is this? James Clear who wrote Atomic Habits, speaks to this idea of how systems are more important than goals. Now if you know anything about me, you’d know that I’m a HUGE systems guy. I’m a big believer that if you keep the pipes clean (have healthy systems), you’ll achieve the goals you set out to accomplish. However without good systems in place, those goals will never happen.
That’s actually why I’m advocating for you to quit your resolutions. I’m not saying setting a goal or resolution in of itself is a bad idea or a bad exercise, but what I am saying is that instead of focusing so much and putting all your efforts into them, consider your systems first.
Here are 3 popular resolutions that people put in place and why you need to quit them:
1. I’m Going To Read Through The Bible This Year
Am I saying that reading the Bible is a bad thing? Of course not. I think this entire site would prove that. What I’m saying is we’re so quick to start this goal each year, get about 1 month in, then give up. The problem is we set such a huge goal and miss the point along the way. The point of reading scripture is not to “cover it all in a year,” but to meditate on it day and night. To let the Word of God actually transform us from the inside out. To cultivate a deeper relationship with God through the activity of His Word in our lives.
Obedience is about direction, not distance.
It would be better to take things one day at a time and actually absorb what you’re reading in the Bible each day. To go deep within the text, to pray through it, to slow down and see what God is telling you through it. Avoid checking “read the Bible today” off of your list, and instead delight in the fact that you have a gift, actual words from God Himself, to guide you each and every day.
Psalm 1:2 – But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Joshua 1:8 – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2. I’m Going To Lose Weight This Year
Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to lose weight? It’s so difficult not to indulge in the various pleasures of food and taste that is available to us. Things taste good, we like it, and honestly..we want what we want, when we want it, how we want it. So that’s exactly what we do, but often find ourselves unhealthy and desiring to lose weight.
Now I can’t speak to every motivation here. There’s a lot of reasons to lose weight. Maybe we want to look good in the mirror, have great Instagram pics of our bodies so we can get compliments, reduce the chances of sickness or disease, be more flexible, etc. The problem is that we set a huge goal for this or to eat perfectly or workout a lot, then we fail (which we’ll never be perfect), and it results in us throwing in the towel and we’re done….until the next resolution. We are missing the point. What’s the point of our bodies and being healthy anyway?
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 – Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
Romans 12:1-2 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
1 Corinthians 10:31 – So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Timothy 4:8 – For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
God has some strong words for us and our bodies. We were bought with the price of Jesus who died for us, and we specifically have the Holy Spirit residing in our bodies. That being said, taking care of our bodies is a BIG deal. At the end of the day, we are commanded in everything we do, and everything we eat or drink, to glorify God.
We seem to be ok with God telling us what to do in so many areas of our lives, but when He tells us what to do with our bodies, it’s like we’re saying “It’s all good God, I’m good doing all those other things, but I’ll just do what I want myself with my body.” (Even though you created me, you designed my body and know how it works better than me, and you tell me to take care of it).
And even in 1 Timothy 4:8, we are reminded, the point isn’t all about training, but are we valuing God and what He has to say?
Instead of setting a huge goal, make healthy choices daily. Over time, the healthier your system is of everyday activities and meals, the healthier your body will become, and one of the results of that will be weight loss.
3. I’m Going To Slow Down This Year
We are moving at such a fast pace more and more people are finding themselves stressed out, anxious, and depressed. I’m afraid we have forgotten how to find rest in Jesus (and I’m included in this). So we set the goal to slow down because we know we can’t continue at that pace. We institute taking long breaks from social media, or tech, or unload things from our to-do list. Those are great ideas, they really are, but we set out to do them in chunks instead of making it part of our daily lifestyle.
Instead, we need to address our time management at the root, including what, and who, are the priorities in our lives. We are a busy people and a busy culture, which is also why God so often tells us to be still, to slow down, to remember He is God and we are not, to remember He is in control and we are not, to remember He knows what He is doing.
Psalm 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Psalm 37:7 – Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!
Exodus 14:14 – The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.
Philippians 4:6 – Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Psalm 62:5-6 – For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
Instead of setting this big goal, answer first…what are your priorities? Who are your priorities? Then build your schedules around those answers and remove the rest. Focus on your day to day lifestyle. Focus on your daily systems and if they are keeping you on track and well rested along the way. Most of all, fix your eyes on the Lord who is the author and perfecter of your faith.
In all of this, setting goals or resolutions aren’t bad in of themselves and it’s good to reflect on these things. My encouragement to you would be to consider more importantly the systems you’ve put in place for your life, what your day to day looks like, and what your priorities are. If you do that and strive for healthy systems vs hitting your resolution, you’ll end up achieving more than you could ever imagine and glorify God.