The title suggests that new-year resolutions are bound for failure. And with reports suggesting that around 80% of resolutions become failed history by Valentine’s day (1) and the experience of those you meet supporting the same, it is not inappropriate to conclude so. Is it not futile to set new-year resolutions if you are bound for failure? Why then does man go about setting resolutions? What are the reasons for failure? And are there solutions?

The very fact that man sets resolutions depicts a desire within man for perfection. And not just for perfection but perfection against odds! No one sets resolutions to exercise less, to eat unhealthy, swear more or smoke or drink more. You don’t hear people saying they are going to sleep late and get up late in the new-year, watch more television and help their kids less with their homework. It is because these are not only considered imperfections (or evil), but also easy to keep. Man’s natural inclination is for evil and left to himself, he adopts the path of least resistance. He does not like the fact that he is bound to evil. He also desires to escape the bondage. A new-year is perceived as a time of change and he rushes along with the crowd to set himself resolutions to follow despite the fact that he might have more often failed than succeeded in keeping his previous resolutions. And so man adopts new-year resolutions with the hope that his desire for perfection would be satisfied.

But alas, his desire is good but the means he has with him to fulfill his desire is grossly inadequate. Much like wanting that beautiful perfect house but not having enough in the account to make the down-payment. All man has at his disposal is his will power to keep his resolutions. And his will power will fail him more often that help him succeed. The Bible makes it clear that the sinful nature controls man and imprisons him. That bondage to do evil cannot be broken by the will of man but only by the transforming power of God made real in Christ Jesus.

The secular media will readily accept our limitations in keeping our resolutions but will offer little help to provide a solution. A person who has failed to keep his resolutions should introspect and rather than begin a road trip of guilt and despair, look at the freedom that Jesus offers.

To a question, ‘How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son (Jesus) sets you free, you will be free indeed‘ (John 8). When a person invites Jesus into his heart, the presence of God begins to dwell within man and there begins a transformational experience, which is nothing short of miraculous. God brings about the change in man with the latter’s cooperation. And without it, man will struggle with his inadequate will-power and have an opportunity to make the same resolutions year after year.

What is your experience with and opinion regarding new-year resolutions? Do leave your comments.


1. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/01/fashion/01change.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0


  1. Chinnu

    A person who knows Christ makes resolutions and fails. How is it different from a person who doesn’t know Christ? And, why does it fail ?

    1. pilgrim Post author

      Thanks Chinnu, for the comment.

      Agreed, even a person who knows Christ fails at times with his resolutions. But the key difference from a non-believer is that he has within him the transforming presence of Christ and over a period of time, he does change. The pace will vary depending on several variables, including his pre-existent nature, sincerity of effort in discipleship, utilization of the spiritual resources that Christ makes available to him and so on. A key component to walking with the Spirit or being led by God is to know the pace at which God brings about transformation. And within the overall process of net success, there might be temporary failures.

      However for a non believer, transformation is rarely lasting because whatever he does achieve is by using his own will and not by the power of God as is the case for a Christian.

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