What to do if your resolutions have failed

Don't throw in the towel if you've already let your resolutions slip. There's plenty of year left to reach your target or aim for a new one!

Millions of us make New Year’s Resolutions each year, but they often fall by the wayside within the second or third week of January. Don’t panic if yours have already slipped – you’re in good company, and there’s plenty of time to get back on track.

  1. Re-evaluate the resolution. Perhaps you were too ambitious with your aims and need to break yourself in gently rather than going cold turkey. For example, if you planned to give up smoking but only lasted a couple of days, maybe you need to cut down more gradually or get some professional help. If you planned to read the whole Bible in a year but found yourself running behind a few days in, maybe you could resolve to read one chapter a day, or whatever you feel is sustainable. It’s better to start moving in the right direction than to take giant strides, only to come crashing down.
  2. Make a plan. Most resolutions don’t come to fruition by themselves. You might need to put some thought into how you’re going to achieve it. For example, if you want to eat more healthily, you could come up with a meal plan or clear the cupboards of snacks. If you want to be more connected with a family member, find out when they are free to chat and their preferred method of communication, then lock in some times and dates.
  3. Come up with a new resolution. Perhaps your original resolution was unrealistic or you’re just not ready to put it into action yet. That’s OK, but you can still do something great in the year ahead. Think about where you’d like to be in your life by the end of 2021. What steps do you need to take to make it happen? For example, if you want to write a book the first step might be researching the genre you’re interested in. The second might be writing the book. The third might be getting it published. Break these steps down into weekly or even daily tasks. Then start by taking the first step!
  4. Pray it through. You’re much more likely to achieve your resolutions if they are God-breathed and covered in prayer. Don’t feel as though you have to go it alone. Ask God to help you stick to your plan and to bring the right people across your path to support and inspire you. You could also ask him to help you overcome anything that might stop you winning your battle, such as procrastination, sin or other distractions. Talk to your church leaders if you need practical help or prayer support.
  5. Don’t lose heart. We all stumble from time to time, but that’s no reason to throw in the towel. So what if you fell back into bad habits for a few days or took your eye off the ball? Get back on the horse, ask for forgiveness if it’s needed and get back into a positive mind frame. There’s no need to wait until next year to meet your goal!

Lamentations 3:40: “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.”