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Reasonable resolutions

Updated: Jan 3

It’s a new year—welcome, 2023!

In America, our default approach to a new year is to set resolutions. Recently, it has become popular to narrow those resolutions down to a single word for the year, a word representing a principle or goal, a word that can help us identify the best choice in any given situation. (If you are looking for a word for 2023, here is a list of more than 100 words for you to choose from.) Whether you choose the resolution route or the word method, my guess is that you have struggled (like me) to make meaningful changes last past January.

The changing of the old year to the new year is an excellent time to take stock of our lives and identify areas that need change or development. Besides, it’s a great use of that liminal week between Christmas and New Year’s Day! But as for those resolutions . . . only 9% of us end up keeping them for the whole year. Which should lead us to this question: is there a better method than making resolutions--even if they are only one word--to accomplish the growth we need to thrive in 2023?

I believe the answer is to think small. Dream big, but make small adjustments, because small is sustainable. One helpful question suggested by Jordan Peterson in his book 12 Rules for Life (2018) is

What could I do, that I would do, to make life a little better?”

The answer to that question is a small change that can be made into a habit. And that habit has the potential to produce life-sustaining, life-giving change over the course of the next year.

My 2023 answers to that question include reading my Bible before reading my phone in the morning and a commitment to share a meal with friends once a week. I expect these two easy commitments will improve my mood, sense of purpose and meaning, and enjoyment of life.

This year, consider asking yourself: What is one modest, reasonable, and sustainable change I could make that can become a habit which breathes joy and meaning into my life and helps me live out my faith in Christ? If we answer that question well and take the small steps toward creating that new habit, we might find ourselves in that rare group of resolution keepers when the next new year rolls around.


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