UNDERDOG REPORT: Resolution Confusion | Joe Hoft


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UNDERDOG REPORT: Resolution Confusion

The Underdog Report is a team of two men, one Black and one Brown who write on conservative issues in support of this country. The use of the possessive “I” is interchangeable between both parties.

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You have little to no chance to keep your New Year’s Resolution, because you’re doing it all wrong.

With the New Year 2024 now officially in swing, many people take this time to think of things they would like to change. Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to a single resolution.

A study just released by Forbes[1]  shows that 45% of people making resolutions will make three resolutions. I’m sure you will not be surprised that the top five 2024 resolutions listed are to improve fitness, finances, mental health, diet, and to lose weight.

The least popular of all is “to do better at work.” I guess, that’s a sign of the times. If I was a boss, those are the people I’d would want to hire.

Interestingly to note, at the time of their resolution, 87% believe they will be able to keep or somewhat keep it through the year. This a sign of over confidence since apparently resolutions have a ‘fat chance’ of success. In the report, only 1% of resolutions made at the beginning of the year are active in 12 months. A sad state indeed.

So, what’s the confusion about resolutions, why are so few completed?

The History of Resolutions

The ancient Babylonians are believed to have been the first to make New Year’s resolutions, 4,000 years ago. Then, in ancient Rome, Julius Caesar began the new year with offering sacrifices and making promises of good conduct for the coming year.[2]

John Wesley

In 1740, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, created the Covenant Renewal Service, held on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Resolutions were made to God to renew their faith, think about one’s past mistakes, and to resolve to be better in the future.[3] From Wesley’s lead, our modern-day New Year tradition became popular, and in turn, ‘Resolution Confusion’ began.


Welcome to Your Xew Years Xolutions Confusion

Like many Christian traditions, New Year’s Resolutions became secularize and stripped of any renewing of faith. Think about Xmas (The holiday formerly known as Christmas), a holiday celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth where you can’t mention Jesus Christ. Jesus is the original ‘He who must not be named.’

I always wondered why we never called October 31st, Xween; or that holiday in November Xgiving; or Xpril Fools, Xdependence Day; you get the point).

What is surprising, or perhaps not really surprising at all, is for ALL the resolutions listed by Forbes, not one of them is 100% focused on others. They all have some aspect of selfishness. You might say spending more time with loved ones (#6 on their list) is not self-focused, but there is surely a double benefit there. It is not, for example, loving them more. In addition, not one of them is Christian based (So sorry Pastor Wesley), let alone spiritually based. Nothing about getting to know God, the Bible, to be involved with other Christians, to be a better Christian, or to ask for forgiveness.

What is the Resolution Solution?

A resolution is a decision to change a behavior, to accomplish something, but there is a characteristic that rests on a person’s resolve, determination, perseverance, or steadfastness. Think about it, when making a New Year’s Resolution, who are you making it to?  Yourself, and this is a good reason why they are so unsuccessful. A resolution with a vow holds some more weight, but a promise to yourself does have as much chance of success as one without. There is no accountability to anyone else. There is not another party that’s part of the equation. But a resolution with a promise or a vow that involves someone else, now that takes on more importance. Remember, that a Covenant is a vow that Pastor Wesley intended to be made with God.

To “resolve” something requires determination, purpose, and intention.[4]  A vow should be made to someone external to yourself if you want to increase your chances of success.  Consider making resolutions with a vow to God, but you should not do this lightly. God take vows seriously:

  • Proverbs 20:25: Warns about making impulsive oaths
  • Matthew 5:33-37: Make your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’, and your ‘no’ mean ‘no’
  • James 5:12: Do not swear by heaven or earth[5]

Numbers 30:2 (ESV) 2 If a man vows a vow to the LORD or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.

So, this year, consider making your New Year’s Resolution differently. Make a Covenant with God; to renew your faith, to know Him, His word, and Jesus better, make it to benefit, help and love others, to be a better person. Be aware of the seriousness of your words, but remember, God will allow you to change your mind if you ask (Think of  Hezekiah, 2 Kings 20) and to renegotiate with Him. Yes, you can renegotiate with God. After all, he is a loving God and He forgives all our shortcomings, all we need to do is ask. Now you have 100% chance of success.

Now go ye merry people and make your resolutions!

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[1] https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/new-years-resolutions-statistics/

[2] https://www.history.com/news/the-history-of-new-years-resolutions

[3] https://www.history.com/news/the-history-of-new-years-resolutions

[4] https://www.jacobabshire.com/church/christian-living/6-principles-for-producing-god-glorifying-resolutions/

[5] https://thewitness.org/what-does-the-bible-say-about-making-vows-to-god/

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