What to do when your New Year’s resolutions have slipped…

January always seems to be the longest month, and now your resolutions have gone out the window. So how do you get your 2020 back on track?

As the countdown played out at midnight on January 1 you steeled yourself for a month of tough self-love. No more cake, alcohol or coffee. Daily trips to the gym. No complaining. Making sure you get your five a day, and your eight hours a night. Reading your Bible every morning. Practising compassion. Attending prayer meetings three times a week. New year, new you…

But just over halfway through January most of us have already relapsed. Our intentions are good, but life can be tough and unpredictable, and old habits are difficult to break. So is it all over? Are we in for a repeat of 2019 now that we’ve let things slip?

Well, that pretty much depends on what you do right now. Yes, right now! You have two options:

  1. Decide it’s all over and go back to your old ways. Perhaps your resolutions were only short-termers anyway, or maybe you set the bar too high and they were never attainable. If you can live with the consequences of letting them go, no sweat! Just don’t spend the year living under a cloud of regrets or what ifs.
  2. Take a deep breath and have another go. We put so much pressure on ourselves at the beginning of a new year because it seems like the perfect opportunity for a fresh start. But in reality, January 1 is just a day like any other. So what’s stopping you from creating a new fresh start today? It’s never too late to turn over a new leaf and start living a healthier, more disciplined or fuller life. If you’re ready to start again, check out the tips below.

Three steps to creating lasting change this year:

  1. Pray. Ask God what he thinks needs to change in your life, and let him show you any root issues that might be leading to bad habits, for example greed, fear of rejection or lack of self-care. Ask for wisdom, discipline and healing as you begin to tackle these issues.
  2. Plan. Habits take time to form, so you’ll need to be prepared. For example, if you’re trying to knock coffee on the head, think about what you’ll drink instead – at home, at work and when meeting friends socially. Don’t allow your coffee habit to resurface because you didn’t have a suitable alternative to hand. If you intend to read the Bible more this year it might be worth investing in a reading plan. If you want to get fit, think about classes you could join, apps you could download or friends who could be your cheerleaders from the sidelines. If you want to practise kindness, make a list of all the ways you can think of doing so. Then do them! It may also be helpful to cut out anything superfluous in your life that would stop you achieving your goals.
  3. Persevere. Most of us start with plenty of momentum and gradually allow it to fizzle out over time. Be realistic about your goals. Start small and work your way up. And then keep going! If you mess up or miss a day, don’t just throw in the towel. Get back on that horse and try again. Celebrate your victories, even the little ones. Keep on keeping on until your resolution becomes a daily reality, and thank God for helping you to make positive changes for the rest of the year and beyond.