Ah, the second week of January. It’s so fresh, so unique, full of hope and possibilities.
But for some who started the year with goals and resolutions, this week may not have turned out as exciting as they had imagined 15 days ago.
In a 2018 study, researchers found that by January 12, most had given up on their resolution. The New York Post discovered that in a poll of 2,000 Americans, by February 1, most have given up their resolution altogether and that 68% of those surveyed had given up their goals long before then.
So, the question remains, why? Why do people give up on their New Year’s resolutions?
The most-reported resolutions are:
- Less time online
- Improved job performance
It seems doable, doesn’t it? I mean, choosing water over a soda is something very doable. But doing it for 365 days? That’s too much commitment.
The driving force behind the “New year, new me” mantra is we’re starting a new year with a blank slate. There are no blemishes; thus, we are unstoppable - until we are stopped. After missing a workout, picking up a soda, or forgetting to do a daily reading, the “This year will be my year” idea becomes fictitious. One day turns into two, two to three, and so on. Suddenly we’ve lost focus and motivation, and we give up.
Humans aren’t perfect. And if we aren’t careful when we make mistakes, our motivation is replaced by guilt.
“I missed a workout. I’m done.”
“I ate a donut; I’ve ruined my diet.”
“I missed a deadline. I’ll never be as good as my co-worker.”
“Guess I’ll try again next year.”
With one goof, we feel like our year is ruined, and that is sad. I know, because I too have been a product of failed New Year’s resolutions. In the middle of attempting to crush my resolution, I transformed a resolution into an attempt for perfection, and that is unattainable.
Often, we treat our faith in the same way.
When we mess up, make mistakes, and get distracted by the things of the world, we become much like Adam and Eve. Instead of coming to the throne, we are tempted to run and hide. Just like that, we’ve forgotten that His mercies are new every morning.
Could you imagine waiting a whole year to re-receive God’s mercy? What about the 1st of next month? Next Monday?
The idea of a blank slate is so appealing. But when it gets down to the nitty-gritty, it’s hard to keep it spotless, and we were never asked to.
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23).
His mercies are new every morning.
I’m no Hebrew scholar, but I’m pretty sure that means every morning. That means that at 12:01 am, during the quietness of the night, He grants us something that we have trouble giving ourselves – mercy.
He gives us new mercies repeatedly, and He is faithful to do it again.
Each day on this earth, we face opportunities, potential, and choices to glorify Christ. Why should we wait another year, week, day, or minute to live in the fullness of His mercy? He has given us another breath. We should make the most of it.
As believers, we should treat our body as a temple (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), be good stewards of money (Proverbs 22:7), not focused on worthless things (Ephesians 5:11), and doing whatever we do unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23-25). Whether that is crushing resolutions or being more forgiving to ourselves, giving up should never be a reason.
Press on and live in the fullness of His mercy!