The commercials have been ramping up since the time the Black Friday ads started filling tv and computer screens. The end of one year means the beginning of another and all those resolutions that we’re encouraged to make:

Stop smoking
Lose weight
Start exercising
Get organized
Clean out the closets
Start saving money
Read more
Study more
Add some fun time into your weekly schedule
Put down the cell phones at dinner
Volunteer

If there’s a resolution to be made, someone will dream up a product that will help us keep it.

We also know that even though we might make these resolutions with the best of intensions, we don’t always keep them. In fact, one study reported that only eight percent of the people who make New Year’s resolutions keep those resolutions.

Why? Here’s top ten list of reasons why we don’t, according to a posting on Shape website:

1. We go it alone. We have no accountability to anyone if we try to do things on our own.
2. We make lofty goal that has no chance of being achieved.
3. We give up too easily. We start off thinking we can achieve the resolution without any trouble. We don’t set bench marks to meet as the year goes by.
4. Time management can keep us from achieving our resolution. Bigger resolutions may take more time to complete than we estimated, and so we give up because the task is too difficult.
5. The resolution is too expensive to keep.
6. The resolution is unrealistic. We say we want to lose 75 pounds in three months—not gonna happen.
7. We don’t make a plan to achieve our goals.
8. We aren’t honest with ourselves and simply make resolutions because we think we should, instead of make them because we want to achieve them.
9. We look at our goals through the wrong set of glasses. We tend to focus on what we haven’t done instead of what we want to accomplish.
10. We don’t believe in ourselves. We like to beat ourselves up when it comes to achieving goals. We should applaud the things we do accomplish and the progress we make.

I would add an eleventh reason to the list of reasons we have a hard time keeping resolutions—the resolutions really don’t get at the heart of what we should be focused as we live. If our resolutions don’t begin with a focus on God, and leaning into our relationship with God, then we’re setting ourselves up for a rocky ride. The lasting changes we make in our living are ones that begin with strengthening our relationship with God and becoming the individuals God’s gifted us to be. When engaged in Christ’s work, we find rich meaning and a purposefulness to our living. When focused on Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, great blessings are ours as we engage in building God’s kingdom.

As you stand at the dawn of 2018, my prayer is that your resolutions and goal-setting efforts begin with Christ—listening for his voice, answering his call, and undertaking his kingdom building tasks. With Christ as your companion, encourager, and guide, your year will truly be rich and blessed beyond measure.

Pastor Sharon