A better New Year? The meaning of resolutions


“A self that goes on changing is a self that goes on living.” — Virginia Woolf

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors and let every new year find you a better man.” — Benjamin Franklin

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” — Isaiah 41:10

Despite being a fairly optimistic person, during this time of resolutions, there’s always a small part of me that responds negatively. Even the most committed must have that nagging doubt in the back of their minds. We promise ourselves we’ll go on that weird juice cleanse, finally go to the gym, cut back on drinking, save money, etc. etc. We attempt to clean ourselves off from the negativity and unhealthiness of the past and all in all, promise ourselves we will be a better person.

Soon, we see that when faced with the reality of the change, people typically back down. And this “failure” is why we doubt the resolution in the first place.  This is why we interpret the resolution itself as worthless.

But I see something that makes resolutions—executed or not—a positive and encouraging ritual. Whether or not you believe in the power of New Year’s resolutions and regardless of if you have a list of one, several, or none, there’s something inspiring about this time of year.

First off, in the very least, this time of year can remind us that we are ever-evolving creatures. Each day is a new day for a healthier mindset, better intentions, different choices. There’s often the opportunity to do better tomorrow.

This is despite the fact that our all-knowing God has seen time and again how we so easily give up. But that’s not what He focuses on. If we’re open to it, our God gives us a chance and renews us each day. With faith, we are washed by the waters, picked up and moved towards a greater self. Even if it’s not here on earth, I believe it’s resolved up above.

To me, that’s worth some celebration.

On top of that, our God reminds us that not only are we renewed by Him, but we are already loved by Him. We haven’t earned this by cleansing ourselves and doing better, we just are. Just like a good parent who loves their kid, with or without their accomplishments, we are His unconditionally-loved children. He is guiding us for growth in His time—loving us all the way.

This week, someone asked me which resolutions have worked in the past. I racked my brain and realized, my resolutions didn’t typically resolve in one calendar year. And yet, many of them have happened or are happening. In God’s timing—not my own—I have evolved for the better.

So when your resolutions don’t come to be by December 31st, don’t so easily become a naysayer. Celebrate that you have a chance to change. Trust God’s timing. And most of all, be grateful He loves you with or without this change.


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