We are just a few days away from the start of another New Year, a time of new beginnings, reflection and a renewed resolve to make one’s self over in a more pleasing and acceptable way. I reside in Las Vegas, NV, where you can place a wager on virtually anything. I have yet to find any oddsmakers willing to tackle New Year Resolution Success rates. It’s a shame-the books would make a fortune!
According to a study out of the University of Bristol, nearly 88% of all seemingly genuine and motivated individuals who make annual NY resolutions, fail miserably! Not only do they fail, but they most often do so in the first month to six weeks! Seems our resolve to resolve is weak at best. Intentional change takes discipline and a strong willpower. Some resolutions involving certain addictions even require outside medical support and additional costs. It is simply more easy to just continue on with your current status than to make real changes. As one who buys new workout clothes for the gym and wears them once, I know and can attest that the struggle is real. And yet each year most of us set ourselves up for failure and disappointment by making promises to ourselves we know we just won’t keep. And so it goes.
According to an article on patch.com, the following is a list of this year’s most popular New Year Resolutions:
- Eat better — 37 percent
- Exercise more — 37 percent
- Spend less money — 37 percent
- Self-care (e.g. getting more sleep) — 24 percent
- Read more books —18 percent
- Learn a new skill — 15 percent
- Get a new job — 14 percent
- Make new friends — 13 percent
- New hobby — 13 percent
- Focus more on appearance — 12 percent
- Focus on relationship — 12 percent
- Cut down on cigarettes/alcohol — 9 percent
- Go on more dates — 7 percent
- Focus less on appearance — 3 percent
Do any of these look familiar? I love to eat, so eating better is always a tough one for me. I’m frugal, and single, so spending less money is easy enough. Who reads books anymore? Do Facebook friends count as new? Only 12% are concerned with relationships? That would explain my low book sales. And in 2018 I went out on ZERO dates, so that bar is limbo low.
I compared this to other Top Ten NY Resolution lists available online and discovered something oddly common. Very few, if any, list spiritual growth or enrichment as a top concern. No mention of increased prayer or study time, church attendance or even benevolent involvement. Virtually very resolution is self-centered or for self-improvement, with very little being outward focused, let alone spiritually motivated. Now don’t get me wrong-I am on an extended stretch of trials and challenges that have all but zapped me of any religious fervor, and I understand how easily it might be to blow off any faith based approach to the future when it seems like you’ve been left to your own devices anyway. But all of us, whether we admit it, whether we accept it, whether we believe it, are spiritual beings. Good or bad, right or wrong, we are spirit-driven. That spirit is oft times malnourished, be it by too much junk food, or mere starvation, and its state of health affects every other aspect of our life.
The end of one year and the immediate beginning of the next is celebrated with parties, revelry, music, dancing, and if you are one of the fortunate ones, a kiss for good luck from someone special. I’m all for the traditional festivities of New Year’s Eve and am not suggesting you forego the parties and find a quiet church, although in many cultures that too is traditional. After all, the parties are for the night while the resolutions are for the next twelve months. That said, the New Year does provide the perfect opportunity to take inventory of your life and to see if you are still on course or if your GPS needs to be reset or updated. In doing so don’t forget that your spiritual compass settings and updated processes will be your best friend when those challenges arise, and they always do, that require more than that which is in your ability. So resolve to drop those few extra pounds, again, renew the gym membership for another six weeks, by your Chantix, and learn a new language, but don’t neglect your spiritual welfare-it always needs improvement!
On a personal note, I want to thank you for following In My Own Words at papaswords.com. I receive reports that show me where the blog is being read. The latest report listed over 90 different countries! I am humbled at the thought of this blog being so global. I hope to continue to write for you as I have done now for five years going back to 12/26/2013. I want to wish you all a very healthy, blessed and prosperous 2019! May God keep you and your families safe for another year! Happy New Year…Joe Hill