Christian Living

Advice for 2017 Resolutions

Author Amy K. Hall Published on 12/31/2016

If you’re making some new resolutions for 2017, Tim Challies advises you to “resolve them prayerfully and plan them carefully.” I agree with him that the key to following through on a resolution is to intentionally create a habit:

Once you have made your resolution, you need to invest a little effort in planning. You need to plan how and when you will take the actions that go along with the resolution. Sheer willpower is enough to begin a new thing or to take the first steps against a bad thing, but eventually you will need something more. You will need to form a habit. Willpower is both fickle and fleeting, but habits—habits are built (or broken) only over time. To build or break a habit you need some kind of discipline that will help you do, or not do, certain behaviors. So think carefully and plan how, when, and where you will build your habit.

To his two recommendations above (prayer and planning), I would also add a third as you’re creating your new habit: When you miss a day (as will regrettably but inevitably happen at some point), resolve to have grace for yourself, pick yourself up, and keep going. Habits take time to build, so have a long-term view of what you’re building. Acknowledge now that there will be days you will fail, and make that acknowledgement of your frailty part of your resolution. Otherwise, one missed day could completely demoralize and derail you!

For more on creating a new habit for 2017, see “How (and Why) to Make Habits, Not Just Resolutions.” Happy New Year to you all!