How many of you have made a New Year’s resolution to shed some pounds? Well, there’s at least one gym in America that will not allow it. That’s right. They have banned New Year’s weight loss resolutions.
In Belmont County, Ohio, Source Fitness will not honor their patrons’ goals to lose weight. Owner Justin Green says,”We are trying to get people to understand that someone making a goal of losing weight and gauging it by measuring the pounds lost… is really the wrong way of going about it since all you’re doing is throwing your body in a negative energy balance.” Losing weight badly misses the point. It’s about increasing health by setting overall health goals.
But let’s be honest. How many of us have made New Year’s resolutions only to find them lost in the shuffle several months later? I’m guilty as charged, too. That’s the reason I tend not to set New Year’s resolutions. Why bother? Why pursue something that has a high statistical probability of failure?
As a pastor, I always see various kinds of spiritual resolutions, too. Starting on January 1, people promise to read their Bibles and pray everyday, become more regular at worship services, tithe, etc., etc. I can only imagine how much stronger our churches would be if people actually held to their resolutions. But alas.
One study I found claims that 80% of our resolutions go unkept. Wow…
So what’s the gremlin destroying our best intentions? I think I found him. The gremlin is called “Lack of Resolution.” Or sometimes he goes by the alias “No Resolve”.
Step back a bit and we can see that there’s nothing magical about January 1, 2016. Think of your last few January Firsts. They were days like any other and nothing more. Other than being the start of a new calendar year, is there really anything more inherently life-giving or distinctive about January 1 from, say, August 19? Nope.
What’s needed is a resolution to be resolute. The reason we can’t keep New Year’s resolutions is that we’re no more resolute now than we were on December 31. What’s needed is a deep inner compulsion, an unstoppable motivation that drives our goals to fruition.
For example, let’s take weight loss. It’s not a question of reducing our burden on the poor bathroom scale. It’s a question of health, and if that’s the case, then there are other things that contribute to health- things like getting enough sleep, emotional and spiritual health, and a clear sense of why we want to be healthy. What’s at stake if we’re not healthy? How can God better use me if I’m healthier?
When we look at it that way, an arbitrary date like January 1, 2016 is not the deciding factor. If the resolve behind our resolutions hinges on a mere leaf turning or the fresh start of a New Year, we will fail. After all, what’s to stop us from starting a new resolution at anytime of the year? What’s a date have to do with it? I can choose to do differently and better anytime I’m ready and willing.
I want to have the right kind of resolve behind my resolutions, whenever I make them. That resolve is the reason and purpose for them while also considering what will be lost if I fail. Combine that with accountability, clear milestone markers, and a way to celebrate my successes, and I will succeed. You will, too!
Happy New Year! May our resolutions be kept with the right kind of resolve. And may 2017 find us stronger and healthier because of it.