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Checklist to Know You Will Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

New Resolutions Scripture

Ephesians 4:20-24

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.


            Happy New Year to you!  I hope this year you will accomplish what you set out to do.  More important, I hope your relationships with yourself, your family, your church friends, and Jesus grow stronger.

            Did you make some New Year’s resolutions?  The research below shares some disheartening facts.  Read it and then we will talk about how best to keep your resolutions.

“The Forbes Health/One Poll survey found that the average resolution lasts just 3.74 months. Only 8% of respondents tend to stick with their goals for one month, while 22% last two months, 22% last three months and 13% last four months….In fact, June 1 is unofficially known by many as “New Year’s Resolution Recommitment Day,” giving you the perfect opportunity to take stock of where you are with your resolutions and hit reset if necessary.”1

Success for most people depends on your motivation.  Of course, weak motivation results in quitting; better motivation is needed to successfully change your habits.  Below are some items to consider to help you keep good resolutions.  You don’t have to score high on all of the following items, it is just a measure of how successful you might be if you score high on them.  The challenge is to keep trying until you are successful.

These are the important motivation steps to keeping a resolution.  Measure each of these on a scale of 1 to 10, if possible.  Ten means you have the highest level of motivation or planning. We will unpack them in a minute.

1.     How bad do you want to keep this resolution?

2.     Is this your resolution or someone else’s or a combination?

3.     How easy is it to accomplish?

4.     Is it something you are giving up or starting up?  No scaling here.

5.     Can it be broken down into smaller, easier steps?

6.     Do you use the two-minute rule?

7.     How easy will it be to manage the distractions that will sabotage your resolution?

8.     Who encourages you to keep your resolutions?


How bad do you want to keep your resolution?  Is this a desire worth a six or better.  Low desire usually means failure.  High desire predicts success.  If you have a low level of motivation, either raise the motivation level in some way or accomplish a smaller version of your resolution? See the steps of accomplishing a resolution through small steps below.

            Is this your resolution?  Many people feel the need to make resolutions to appease others.  The more you want to make this change for you, the more likely you will be successful.  However, most resolutions are a combination of what others want and what you want.  Scale this from one to ten.  If this is 100% your resolution, give yourself a ten.  If only imposed on you, give it a one.  If a combination, rate it for your motivation level.  Once again, a high score predicts a greater chance of success.

            How easy is this resolution accomplished?  As you might guess, easier resolutions tend to have a higher rate of success.  Some people find a resolution easy to accomplish while others find the same resolution difficult.  Easy-to-accomplish resolutions should be a ten on your scale of potential success.  Difficult-to-accomplish ones should be further down the scale.

            Starting up a new habit is usually easier than giving up an old one.  Old habits are like addictions.  We slide into those so easily that many times we don’t see it happening.  Adding or deleting or some combination of the two are still difficult in many cases.  Keep working at it every day, if possible, and stay with it even if you fail a few times.  Failure is common in the early days of change.  Stay with it till you have formed a new habit.

            Have you broken this resolution down into smaller, easier steps? You should avoid trying to do a complete change all at once unless you are massively motivated.  Otherwise, complete a small step at a time. Master that small step before moving on toward the next one. Build on each success.  For example, writing a paper for class should be done one small step at a time, such as writing only one paragraph the first day.  Then write two paragraphs the second day, etc. 

            Do you use the two-minute rule?  In any effort to make a behavioral change, you must practice at least two minutes.  If you schedule to write a novel and have scheduled to write three days a week, on those days write at least two minutes no matter how you feel or how your day fell apart.  If you feel motivated to continue after two minutes, go for it.

            How easy is it to control your distractions?  Social media commits itself to distracting you from what is important to your life.  Call it what it is.  It sucks all your time and gives you little in return.  Controlling your distractions is one of the best ways to successfully make a change.  I can find a reason to fix anything in my house that has gone unfixed for years when I face a difficult task to do.  I write those distractions down to be worked on for a future time and get back to implementing my resolutions.  List out your distractions.  Write down the ones that need fixing in the future and tell the rest, “Get out of my life.”

            Finally, who is encouraging you to be successful with your resolutions?  Have a friend or family member with whom you can share your goals.  Ask them to check up on you and encourage you.  I hope you have many people in your life and community who can encourage you. 

            If you score high on all these items, you will probably be successful in your attempt to change.  If you are low on some of these items, inspect them and see how you can improve your motivation score on them. 

            The key is to work at it at least a little bit when you schedule it to happen.

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