I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at statistics on how far people get on with their new year’s resolutions. Below are statistics on the top resolutions people made this year as well as how succesful people are generally with acheiving their goals.
|Source: University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology|
|Date Verified: 3.19.2012|
|Rank||Top 10 New Years resolutions for 2012|
|Spend Less, Save More|
|Enjoy Life to the Fullest|
|Staying Fit and Healthy|
|Learn Something Exciting|
|Help Others in Their Dreams|
|Fall in Love|
|Spend More Time with Family|
|News Years Resolution Statistics||Data|
|Percent of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions||45%|
|Percent of Americans who infrequently make New Year’s Resolutions||17%|
|Percent of Americans who absolutlely never make New Year’s Resolutions||38%|
|Percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution||8%|
|Percent who have infrequent success||49%|
|Percent who never succeed and fail on their resolution each year||24%|
|People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions|
|Type of Resolutions (Percent above 100% because of multiple resolutions)||Data|
|Self Improvement or education related resolutions||47%|
|Weight related resolutions||38%|
|Money related resolutions||34%|
|Relationship related resolutions||31%|
|Age Success Rates||Data|
|Percent of people in their twenties who achieve their resolution each year||39%|
|Percent of people over 50 who achieve their resolution each year||14%|
|Length of Resolutions||Data|
|Resolution maintained through first week||75%|
|Past two weeks||71%|
|Past one month||64%|
|Past six months||46%|
Firstly, i must comment it is quite interesting and encouraging that many people in the world(supposedly) are concerned with “Helping people in their dreams” and “spending more time with family” because it just shows people are not only thinking about their welfare but the welfare of others as well. I bet if they took this survey in Nigeria they would get one of the top resolutions as ‘buying a new car and building a house’ or something between those lines which might be quite understandable considering the poverty some people encounter in that country but at the same time may be just a rich man thinking of building his 10th house in the same society where his fellow man is suffering and living in poverty.
My main purpose of writing this post is to explore why it has been found in this survey that just 8 percent of the people making resolutions every acheive it. If you look at the length he resolutions were maintained you can clearly see it many people get really excited in the first week of their resolutions but grow weary in just under 6 months.
I am in every way one of the 75 percent that would break a resolution under a week if i made one and i think its only natural for that to happen. I always wondered why it took such a short time for me to break resolutions when i was so determined to acheive it. Maybe it was lack of discipline, or i just grew tired but i believe the main reason why resolutions don’t and will never work for me is because i even decide to make them at all
It has taken me such a long time to learn what i’m about to explain but until i got it nothing really changed in my life to be honest. I wasn’t getting it at all and its really surprising how people still go on making the same mistakes yearly without getting to the root of why they never acheive their new year resolutions.
To explain myself fully i’ll talk about my experience in my christian Life. There is something known as legalism. Legalism is a term i’ll like to refer to as following a set of rules and regulations and laws.By the way,christians are no longer under the law, but under grace.
For many many years i tried living by laws and the 10 commandments and all that. The result was that i failed to obey them. Everytime i disobeyed one of them i’d live in guilt for maybe 1 week or so before i asked God for forgiveness. Then even after i did, i’d still feel the need to come out in church after an altar-call to become saved when i had already been saved. It didn’t even help further when i heard a pastor from my school once say ‘When you sin, you have to give your life to Christ again. Its not true when people say Once saved, always saved’. And i believed him even though he never actually gave any biblical references for his doctrine. The worse thing about my legalistic lifestyle was that everytime i saw someone else doing something i recognised as ‘wrong’, i got into my judgemental side and accused them. But to be honest, something didn’t feel right. Something wasn’t just working for me at all. I had no sort of relationship with God at all because i always felt God was angry at me, and i felt the need to tick the boxes of me doing my ‘good works’. Basically, that was me thinking Christianity was a religion.
I might as well put it to you from now, that Christianity is a relationship with God, not intending you to be ‘religious’ and ‘self-righteous’.And once you have gone out for an altar call,don’t waste ur time going out again because even when we run away from God, he still loves us and nothing can separate us from his love.Salvation appears too good to be true so many people find it hard to believe that God will still accept us even when we sin. But the truth is in the first place, he didn’t give us the gift of salvation because we were good enough, but because he loved us from the foundations of the world.
Salvation is a gift(we are saved by grace), you don’t even deserve it.And when God gives a gift he never takes it back. Romans 11:29(AMP) confirms this truth when it says:
29For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]
God chose you not the other way around.Even when we were sinners, he still loved us, not to talk of when he removes our sin and gives us his righteousness.You are the righteousness of God in Christ. You are righteous!(always have right standing with God through Christ living in you and not by your works).Do you really think God will live in you, if your spirit was full of sin? God sweeps away every atom of sin from our spirits the moment we become Christians. Our flesh may be weak and our souls may not be all that but God works out holiness in us inside out from our spirits to our souls to our bodies.Holiness is different from righteousness.It involves being set apart and is a life process. It doesn’t happen in a day or 2 or a week. It always happens. In case you didn’t know what the Bible saysout self-righteousness let me show you this verse.
Isaiah 64:6(AMP) says: 6For we have all become like one who is unclean [ceremonially, like a leper], and all our righteousness (our best deeds of rightness and justice) is like filthy rags or a polluted garment.
I would like to point out that in the original hebrew, when isaiah spoke about your righteousness(good deeds) being filthy rags, they were deeper than is represented in the english translation. The hebrew word for filthy is ‘iddah’ which literally means “the bodily fluids from the woman’s menstrual cycle” and the hebrew word for rags is ‘beged’ which means a rag or a garment. This might sound very repulsive, but when isaiah wrote that verse he was referring to tampons. That is how filthy our righteous acts are. But the good news is, we are righteous in Christ; not by good works but by our faith in Him and the Bible says we are sitted together with Christ in heavenly places(you cannot be sitted with Christ in heaven now, if you are not spotless and without sin-therefore the blood of Jesus gives us the righteousness of God)
As soon as i learnt this i must confess that i even lived in more obedience to God(not only what is in the Bible, but the promptings of the Holy Spirit) than when i tried to tick the boxes of me obeying rules and regulations.
Living by the spirit is the easiest way to live in obedience to God. He doesn’t bombard you with a million things to change about yourself, he takes it a step at a time and transforms you through his power. When we try to tick the boxes often we rely on ourselves instead of the power of God to change us, and that was why it never worked out for me. I didn’t understand it had nothing to do with my determination.
I think it is the same way with writing down a set of things you resolve to do in a year. Everytime you have a set number of things you intend to change in a year, you start working to change it all at once instead of a step at a time and that is what gets people tired of doing it. Live each day individually, and live as best as you can each day of your life. When you get to notice something you need to change in your life take it at once, and get helpful books, advice and everything that you might need. I think there’s another key point in this- If you don’t decide to get to the root of the problem yourself, you will never change. Seminars, books and counselling are good but to be honest with you they are meant to be a piece in an entire puzzle. You will never change if you don’t do something yourself. Seminars and going to church keep you excited and encouraged for a bit, and usually we have a long list of ‘to-do lists’ after them, but if you don’t make a decision to do a personal study on your own, nothing is going to change and i believe that is the reason why people get weary just under 2 weeks.
You might wonder why many christians go to church but yet you never see fruits of joy,peace,patience,kindess,love etc in them. I think the reason is because they never take out time to learn the Bible for themselves. They think pastors are the only ones who have access to that knowledge and that is not true. Pastors and preachers are there to direct you to personal study and experience with God. You have as much access to learning and hearing God’s voice as much as they do. And let me just say this now:
IF YOU WILL NOT TAKE OUT TIME TO STUDY THE BIBLE YOURSELF AT HOME THEN YOU MIGHT AS WELL NEVER GO TO CHURCH ON SUNDAYS BECAUSE GOING TO CHURCH ONLY KEEPS YOU ENCOURAGED FOR A MOMENT; IT DOESN’T CHANGE ANYTHING IN YOUR LIFE. NOTHING IN YOUR LIFE IS GOING TO CHANGE IF YOU DON’T TAKE OUT TIME TO STUDY THE BIBLE.
And you know what that means? It means you will be stagnant all your life. There will never ever be progress or growth. You will make heaven, but you will always be a baby christian and you will live in so much misery. If you say you’re a christian then be a christian God will be proud of. Don’t be a lukewarm christian- neither here not there. Its sad when people have to ask some christians if they are actually christians just because they decide to have the best of both worlds.
I’ll end on this note: It is nice to make commitments and resolutions because it sets booundaries in your life. However, if you set those boundaries, make sure you’re taking everything one step at a time. When you try to do it all at once it gets bad. Live each moment and day the best way you can.