In Defense of New Year’s Resolutions

mountaintop

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? – Psalm 8:3-4

Like many people, I made New Year’s Resolutions. Also like many people, I posted them on the internet. I do this because I know my goals for this year deserve the same space as the latest cat meme; and that’s an important space!

I also know I will fail at some of my goals, but that’s part of the point – shoot for the stars and all that. Still, for many people New Year’s Resolutions are equal parts wishful thinking and guilt inducing. And I hate this. I hate we believe the lie that our value comes from completion of something as silly as making your bed every day. I hate I fall into the trap of believing I must measure up to an arbitrary list to be valuable.

When we use our resolutions as a measuring stick of value then we will fail every time, even if we succeed, because our value is misplaced. If I’m lucky, I’ll finish an ultra marathon this year, but even if I do I will still have 5 more months left of 2015 to live. 50 miles would be a great accomplishment, but I guarantee I will be empty within a week of completing it. If my most significant accomplishment this year is running 50 miles at one time then I will have failed miserably. The point is not for me to compare myself to others, to check off the longest list, or to add value to my life through activity, but for me, resolutions keep me focused, driven, and motivated.

As a child, my mom would make me run laps around the house because I had too much energy. To be fair, I pretty much begged to run anywhere and everywhere so this wasn’t so much a punishment as a mutually beneficial activity. As an adult, I’ve noticed when I have too much free time I am less productive. If I have 10 things on my to-do list I will finish 8 of them, but if I have 2 things then I may not finish either. I need challenges and goals to focus or I am useless. I thrive under the stress of a to-do list (is it stress if you love it?) and I gain immense satisfaction from crossing off lists. That’s my obsessive weird personality.

I have a lot to learn from my creative, non-list friends; like how to ease up, relax, and enjoy just being. I love their spontaneity and ability to dream. I love that they tolerate my obsessive personality and still invite me to hang out even when I have to leave early so I can run in the morning. Most of all, I love that through them, I can see and know the joy of being loved unconditionally. They remind me that even when I fail, it’s OK because a list doesn’t determine my value in the first place.


And, if you’re interested, here are several good perspectives from achievers and dreamers on why you should NOT make New Year’s Resolutions. Each of these blogs bring a great perspective and address the negative side of resolutions well:

Abby | Joey | Jen

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4 thoughts on “In Defense of New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Thanks for linking that post from Abby. She’s got some great thoughts there. Much more clear and biblically-ground than mine, for sure.

    And for the record, I’m not saying that resolutions are all that negative. But for my self-worshiping heart, they easily can be.

    • Yes, she frequently has great thoughts! I appreciated your thoughts too – especially as a fellow achiever. I wanted to highlight all sides – including a break from resolutions! I have been inspired by your goal-oriented posts and your thoughts challenged me to think about my own resolutions. I decided in favor of them this year. I hope the tone of this post conveys my respect for both sides of the issue – to make resolutions and to cease resolutions.

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