“I don’t believe in making resolutions.”
“Oh, I haven’t thought about it yet.”
“I don’t make resolutions because I never keep them.”
“I think New Year’s resolutions are stupid.”
“I like to set goals all the time, not just at New Year’s.”
Please stop. It’s boring.
In the past two weeks, I’ve asked at least 50 people (including strangers) if they have a New Year’s resolution. Inevitably, almost every single person said one of the five statements list above – often verbatim.
Only 2 people had a resolution ready.
While I set goals year-round, there’s something special about resolving to make a yearly change. I believe in resolutions. I’m a fan of resolve. Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m a total sucker for New Year’s resolutions.
So where did New Year’s resolutions come from, anyway?
According to Wonderopolis…
[tweet]The tradition of New Year’s resolutions dates all the way back to 153 B.C.[/tweet] January is named after Janus, a mythical god of early Rome. Janus had two faces — one looking forward, one looking backward. This allowed him to look back on the past and forward toward the future. On December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking backward into the old year and forward into the new year. This became a symbolic time for Romans to make resolutions for the new year and forgive enemies for troubles in the past. The Romans also believed Janus could forgive them for their wrongdoings in the previous year. The Romans would give gifts and make promises, believing Janus would see this and bless them in the year ahead. And thus the New Year’s resolution was born.
According to 1950’s sociologist Isidor Thorner…
New Year’s Resolutions may be a tradition rooted in watch night services, which were popularized by the Methodist church in 18th century England as a way to ring in the New Year in a more spiritual, contemplative way, as opposed to raucous, all-night partying.
The key to New Year’s resolutions is definitely simplicity.
And in the past few years, I’ve actually been able to keep my resolutions by using a smart little trick, inspired by the The SMART Method. SMART stands for…
Michelle used to make resolutions like “eat less candy,” but it wasn’t working out for her. So two years ago, she decided to go on the offense: to eat more greens. Simple. Eat more greens.
She ate twice as many greens that year. And I ate twice as many greens that year. Now vegetables are a far more integral portion of our dinner plates. Last year, my work resolution was to write 3 daily MITs- Most Important Tasks. And boy did it help my productivity!
In 2014, I…
- co-wrote 2 film scripts
- wrote a 113,000-word book on prayer
- co-released a documentary and showed it in over 80 cities around North America
- started a second non-profit
- started this website
- wrote dozens of articles and got published in the Huffington Post, Esquire, Converge, Thought Catalog, and Relevant Magazine
- flew 37,000 miles around the world and visited 13 countries
- roadtripped over 20,000 miles through 38 states and provinces
- walked on hot coals, visited Mount Athos, celebrated New Year’s in North Korea, visited the world’s biggest church, emceed a wedding and stood as the best man in my brother’s wedding, testified before Canadian Parliament, appeared on dozens of TV shows and radio stations,preached at a dozen churches, met 100s of amazing new people, watched 40+ movies, read 40+ books, and met the Pope.
I did all these things without owning a cell phone, an iPad, Evernote, drinking coffee or energy drinks, working from a dedicated office, or even having a permanent address.
And, while it’s no longer 2014, I’ll continue to write down 3 daily MITs because it’s a bedrock habit at this point.
But why stop at one?
I make a couple resolutions each year, in four different categories:
1. Spiritual Walk
For my health resolution, I’m going to figure out how to be a good vegetarian. For my spiritual walk, I’m cycling through The Gospels every 40 days. For my 2015 character resolution, I’m tackling the hardest resolution I’ve ever met: To stop complaining and see the silver lining.
There was a running joke in my family growing up: “If Jay couldn’t complain, he wouldn’t be happy.” I’m an optimist, but I’m far too negative. With God’s grace, that changes this year. I’ve given my wife a keyword to use if she ever hears me complaining: silver. Because frankly, I know I can do better. My life is amazing. And so easy. Compared with the majority of the world (and the majority of history), I lived a charmed life. I don’t have any right to complain, not while people go to bed hungry, or are trafficked, or living in abusive homes, or can’t find work, or live under a dictatorship. Instead, I’d like to cultivate gratefulness and see all the good gifts that God has given me. (And then turn it into action, of course!)
But back to you.
Here are 10 reasons why you should make a new year’s resolution for 2015
Stuck in a rut? Keep doing the same things and you’ll get the same result… so shake things up! You’ve got 365 days to transition to a job that you love, have a far more simplified home, or be in a stronger financial position.
3. You get to challenge yourself.
It’s not easy to keep a resolution, not by a long shot. You’re going to have to push yourself.
4. You’ll become a bigger person.
Character growth is hard. [tweet]Resistance creates strength.[/tweet] Building a new habit is tough work, but it’s the work of life. One year from today, you could be more patient, loving, kind, or generous.
5. Stick it to failure.
Declaring that your resolution is bound to fail, from the very start, is so terribly fatalistic. Give yourself a fighting chance! Bolster your self-confidence by sticking to your resolution.
6. Fight fear.
Maybe you’ve been procrastinating or putting off something that you know needs to change.
7. Life’s too short to waste time.
Intentional living is a good stewardship of the only life that God has given you. Take advantage.
8. Because no one makes resolutions anymore.
[tweet] Live outside the box a little. Stop following the crowd. Swim upstream. Pick your own metaphor.[/tweet] Be a contrarian and do something unique and different.
9. It affects those around you.
Like my wife eating greens, your good habits could naturally start to wear off on those around you. If you start to walk or work out more, likely your spouse will join you. If you read and pray at the kitchen table each morning, your kids will see it modelled. If you clean up your front lawn, maybe your neighbors will finally throw out that old BBQ.
Making a resolution says “I’m not cynical- [tweet]I’m hopeful for the plight of humanity and for myself personally. I know can do better.[/tweet]”
Resolutions, especially those of a character or spiritual nature, take a lot of grace, truth, and time to achieve. But you’ve got a whole year to figure that out!
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying before: Thoughts create actions create habits create character create destiny. Sticking with something for an entire year means you need to get to the habit stage. [tweet]A resolution gets you in the mindset to take a new course of action.[/tweet] My father has read through the Bible every single year since he was a teenager. That’s why I make resolutions- because if you stick with it long enough, it could change your whole life.
Happy New Year!