Culture At Large

How to keep your 2011 New Year’s resolutions

Josh Larsen

If you’re struggling with your New Year’s resolutions already - only six days in! - we’re here to help.

ThinkChristian is conducting a little experiment and we need you as test subjects. If you’ve made a resolution for yourself this year, or are thinking about making one, share it in the comment section below. Such a public pledge might just help you keep your promise - especially if you know we’ll be revisiting this post in a month or so and then again next December to see how our participants did.

Of course, some might ask if it’s really worth bothering with New Year’s resolutions. Are they really helpful for people who want to improve their lives in some way? For Christians, are there any spiritual benefits? What about detriments?

Dr. Maggie Bishay, a clinical therapist at Cornerstone Counseling Center of Chicago, told ThinkChristian that such resolutions are valuable, even if all they do is prompt people to admit they have things they need to improve.

"Whether the person succeeds or fails, the effort of trying it, even for a short time, allows the person to feel good about themselves,” Bishay said. “Dealing with, or even just admitting one has a problem, such as an addiction, is therapeutic alone.”

Christians can use resolutions to refocus their faith, she added.

"The spiritual benefit of making resolutions is to bring people closer to God,” said Bishay. “People who are addicted often lose sight of what God wants for them. They begin to worship their addictions, often placing God on the ‘back burner’ so to speak.”

In a way, the fact that resolutions don’t always pan out is reflective of our redemptive story. Reclaiming God’s creation is a try, fail and try again endeavor for Christians. The point is that we believe in ultimate restoration, so with the turn of each calendar year we vow to live as faithfully as we can once more.

I was talking to a relative on New Year’s Eve about resolutions and he said he’s in the habit of making a list each year he calls “Big Things.” He doesn’t take it too seriously - some big things happen, others get pushed onto the following year’s list - but the process helps him map out where he would like to go each year.

With that in mind, what big things do you hope to achieve in 2011? What resolutions have you made? Share them here and remember: We’ll be checking in again down the road.

Topics: Culture At Large, Arts & Leisure, Theology & The Church, Faith