By Cindy O'Donnell, LCSW

Every year since I can remember, on Jan 1st, New Year's Resolutions are made. These are usually things that we want to try and improve on, things we want to change. We make resolutions to lose weight, stop smoking, spend more time with family or friends, be more kind, etc. We make these kind of resolutions and then around about Jan 20th they are promptly broken. Sometimes we may feel guilty about this, sometimes relieved, but mostly our resolutions are forgotten.

So the question that I began to ask years ago was, "why do we make these resolutions?" Is there a point in setting our selves up for failure year after year?

I mean we make these promises with hope of a change, with hope of a better life and yet most of the time, it ends up being a very short-lived dream.

I just stopped making New Year's Resolutions. They seemed empty and useless. Then I had a revelation, a God-sized revelation. Desiring change is a good thing, a needed thing. Without desire for a change, we stay stuck in our old habits and sinful ways. The thing I began to realize is that all those years of making resolutions failed because I was trying to do them all on my own and often for the wrong reasons.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

We don’t need to wait for Jan 1st in order to make changes. We also can appear to fail and yet not. Missing a week at the gym is not a failure unless we choose to never return. As I started having these revelations, change began to happen. The biggest revelation was realizing that all these other New Year’s resolutions need to start with having a deeper relationship with God and asking for Holy Spirit to give me the power to walk the path God wanted me to walk. It’s not about a lack of “willpower.” It’s about having Holy Spirit power.

So resolutions became revelations and revelations are about beginning whenever the revelations are given, not just because it’s Jan 1st. What the New Year can help us do is take a look back over the past year…an inventory of sorts. It is a time to reflect. Changing some of our habits is not a bad idea but maybe the first resolution for 2014 is more about a revelation and that revelation may just be looking at your relationship with God or lack thereof.

  1. Who is the Lord of my life?
  2. If God is the Lord of my life, have I given Him permission to have access to all areas of my life? If no, why not?
  3. How might I begin or continue to deepen my relationship with God?
  4. What areas of my life are causing my life to be unmanageable?
  5. What changes do I feel God is calling me to take a look at?
  6. How have I loved others well over the last year?
  7. If I had to pick one word or phrase that might be the theme for myself, and my life for the coming year, what would it be?
New Year's resolutions can be a distant memory come Super Bowl time or they can be a time of reflection and revelation that truly results in lasting transformation. It’s important to keep in mind that if a “resolution” is broken, it is an opportunity to experience God’s revelation in your life. Resolutions are fleeting but revelations have a lasting impact and are life-changing!

So as we celebrate the New Year, may you experience life-changing revelations and be inspired, not worrying so much about having a resolution that will fade and potentially be forgotten.