It’s that time of the year again – making your New Year’s Resolutions. According to Globe Newswire, the 18- to 34-year old crowd led the way in making New Year’s resolutions in 2015. In a survey, the millennials were twice as likely to make a resolution than the general population. Of course, making resolutions are easy, but the hard part is sticking to them. A website called StatisticBrain reports that only 8% of people who make new year’s goals are successful. Not surprisingly, the most common resolution is to lose weight and get fit. During the week before and after New Year’s Day 2015, Google plucked out “how-to” questions that spiked the most in the U.S. Six out of the ten inquiries covered nutrition and fitness, including “how to steam broccoli,” “how much water do I need to drink to lose weight” and “how to cook lentils.” (The way I cook lentils is to eat at an Indian restaurant where they know what they’re doing).
In case you need help in coming up with New Year’s Resolutions for 2016, here’s 6 that I found around the web to get the idea engine running, plus a personal bonus:
1. I RESOLVE TO WORK WITH NEGLECTED CHILDREN — MY OWN. As a joke, that’s really funny. In reality, not so much.
2. MY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION IS TO BE LESS PREFECT. This one came from a tweet by funnyman Jim Gaffigan in 2013. For all you fussbudgets, a great resolution would be to let go of perfection in all areas of your life but one — the quest to be “perfected in love every moment,” in the words of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.
3. The Christian site Crosswalk published a list of fictitious New Year tweets by Bible characters. Mrs. Lot wrote, “LONGING 4 THE PAST HELPS NO ONE. Don’t look back! (hey, what’s this salty taste…?) Yep, the past can sometimes be a nostalgic place to visit, but it can also be a place to get stuck in bitterness and regret. Best to forget what lies behind, in the words of St. Paul, and strain forward to lay hold of God’s calling for you (Philippians 3:14).
4. The Refinery29 website listed what the current presidential candidates should resolve to do in 2016. For Rand Paul, they wrote, “I WILL LEARN TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA PROPERLY.” Back in October, a grumpy Senator Paul used an unfortunate word when he was live-streamed on the campaign trail in Iowa. Social media certainly has become a dumping ground for angry feelings, political rants and profane language. A number of my Facebook friends have resolved to unfriend or unfollow people who can’t seem to get the hang of civilized behavior on Facebook and Twitter.
5. ENJOY LIFE TO THE FULLEST. Good Morning America reported this as the number one resolution for 2016, based on a survey of 5000 respondents. Carpe diem!
6. In a social media poll, a woman named Kaylyn said that her new year’s resolution is “just to be more present with my friends and family. TO NOT BE ON MY PHONE, to just be more with them and not distracted.” What a great goal, unless you think electronically-sent words are more important than face-to-face conversation.
BONUS RESOLUTION! I’m going to preach about this one in an upcoming sermon: “SEEK YE FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD.” Someone much wiser and greater than me came up with this one, but it’s a noble goal for 2016 and beyond. Jesus said that if you earnestly desire this kingdom–that is, the righteousness of God–then “all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). “All these things” does not mean what some TV preachers promise – that if you give to their ministry, you will receive Cadillacs and piles of money. But Jesus is saying that when our priority is the Kingdom, God will take care of what we really need, for where God guides, He provides. The Lord is quite capable of supplying our needs, especially if we are willing to live with the basics instead of competing with others for status and trying to pile up worldly goods.
“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God…” When we do that, we find out that all the gymnastics and gyrations we do to make changes in our lives are unnecessary. To follow Jesus is the change. It is the only resolution we need to make.