Reflections & Resolutions 2019

Our Silly Fear Of Resolutions

I’ve met many, including Christian leaders, who say that resolutions are useless. If they had meant that we should aspire to grow throughout the year (instead of only once a year), I would have understood their rationale, but still disagreed with their dampening of New Year Resolutions. But sadly, that’s not even their reason.

The real reason why many have stopped making resolutions is because we keep failing at it. Let’s not deny it... we're prone to stop trying because we hate failing.

But to stop making resolutions because we will fail at it is really the silliest of reasons.

Why should I repent when I'm going to fall into sins again? Why should I reconcile with my spouse when I know we will argue again? Why should I comb my hair when it will get messy again? Of course you will fall into sins for the rest of your life. I’ll be surprised if you never quarrel with your spouse from time to time. Unless you’re bald like me (life’s little blessings), your hair will get messed up everyday. And of course you will fail in your resolutions again.

So why do we bother trying when we keep failing and getting messed up? Because all of these are great while they last. The feeling of being liberated from sin, and living with a clear conscience is awesome. Having a loving relationship with a spouse is one of the most beautiful feelings ever. And well, I guess neatly combed hair is quite nice too. The same goes for resolutions. We will fail, but let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

The few weeks when you succeed in praying everyday is to be celebrated, but somehow, the day when you failed to do so bothers you more. Even just the three months of healthy eating before you finally succumb to junk food have already done wonders for your body, but you get discouraged for failing instead.

The changes you make, before you fail again, matter a lot. It makes a difference to you (and very often, others too) for those days or weeks or months that you kept to your resolutions. They matter to God too. So, enjoy them.So what should you do after you’ve inevitably failed in your resolution again? Well, treat it like your messy hair – reset it, put more gel to make it stick, and enjoy it while it lasts. Reset, repeat, rejoice.

Encourage Reflections & Resolutions

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (James 1:23-24)

As leaders, why do we teach people to reflect on the year, if we don’t encourage them to make decisions as well? What is the purpose of a review, if we do not make plans? As disciples of Christ, we are supposed to read God’s Word, reflect where we’ve erred in, and commit ourselves to growth.

So encourage the setting of resolutions. And if you really hate the word ‘resolutions’, call it ‘dreams’, or ‘aspirations’ or ‘goals’, if that makes you feel better. But let’s desire change and growth. Following James’ advice, we shouldn’t look at ourselves in the mirror and forget how we look like.

Unless your name is Cinderella, nothing magical happens when the clock ticks towards 12am, and it does not get more mystical just because it’s midnight of 31st December either. So why do we choose the 1st of January?

Should you love your spouse more on your wedding anniversary? Do you hope to be appreciated on other days besides your birthday? Of course any day can be special, but we always pick certain dates for symbolic reasons. By all means, set your resolutions on any other day. But New Year’s Day certainly has a nice ring to it.

Practical Tips

For those among us who want to set resolutions and hope to do better in the coming year, here are some practical tips that can help us keep to our resolutions a little longer:

  1. Ask God for wisdom on what kind of resolutions you should make. "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5)
  2. Rely on God. We are weak-willed, but God can strengthen our resolve. “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
  3. Do not be discouraged or give up when you fail. Reset your resolution and start again. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
  4. Find ways to constantly remind yourself of your resolutions. Set it as a screensaver or wallpaper? Paste it on your mirror? Write it in a notebook that you’ll always read? Make it rhyme? Decide what works best for you.
  5. Set practical steps to help you achieve your goal. Having a plan makes a difference. A wise man once said, “A dream without a plan is just a day dream. A plan, poorly executed, becomes a nightmare”. OK, I confess, it’s not a quote from a wise man; I made it up.
  6. Find a friend (or a few friends) who will advise you, encourage you and keep you accountable.

May God grant you the strength you need to grow and change. All the best for your reflections and resolutions!!

Chan Gin Kai

Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. In church, he serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry. He describes himself as "just a sinner who wants to get right with God".