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New Year resolutions

January 2015 | by Judith Webster

Half of all UK adults are expected to make New Year resolutions in 2015.

A 2014 survey found that, of those who make New Year resolutions, 47 per cent focus on self-improvement.

The most common resolutions are to lose weight, get organised, stay healthy, save money and enjoy life to the fullest. This self-centred outlook echoes the rich fool in Luke 12: ‘Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry’.

The tradition of New Year resolutions dates back thousands of years. The origin of the name ‘January’ partly derives from ianua, the Latin word for ‘door’. The month’s name was influenced by the belief that, because January is the door to the New Year, it can lead to a new lifestyle.

The ideology of resolutions rests on the (ironic) belief that bad habits can readily be overcome by direct effort, even if established for years. People try to atone for their wrongdoings in the New Year, believing it recompenses for the previous year’s behaviour.

However, succeeding in this is tough, so it isn’t long before most people give up trying to change. In 2012, three-quarters of British adults admitted they gave up their resolutions in the same month they made them.

Despite supposedly fundamental goals, only 8 per cent of people who make a resolution maintain it for a whole year. Contrast this with the Bible’s pointer to Christian progress, which says: ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind’ (Romans 12:1-2).

Christians know there is nothing we can do to atone for our wrongdoings. All their sin has already been paid for by the blood of Jesus shed on their behalf. They should focus on developing spiritually and yearn to become like Jesus each and every day, instead of focusing on worldly resolutions at the start of each year.

Judith Webster

 

Picture : Cast of Roman door