A new year, a new beginning and for many as usual new resolutions. Perhaps, the words ‘new resolutions’ might be better changed into ‘new challenges’. Challenges, because many resolutions to change behaviour are so easily broken. Often within a month many of them have been too difficult to keep and hence abandoned.
Although, since we’ve been captured by the Covid pandemic I do not hear many speaking about new year’s resolutions anymore. It seems people’s minds have been occupied with coping with Covid, more than trying to change bad or unhealthy behaviour. That should hardly be a surprise when we look to how much people had to cope with over the last few years.
Already last year the issue of new year’s resolutions in relation to the Covid pandemic was detected by some psychologists. They noted that for many people the New Year offers the opportunity to put their focus on long-term goals, which than leads to the tradition of New Year’s resolutions. These resolutions give us a chance to consider on what we hope to achieve in the longer term. Even when everyone knows that the focus will shift back to the short-term demands of day-to-day living before the end of January, it is valuable to consider those longer-term aspirations.
But since the Covid pandemic it seems that thinking about the long-term has become much more difficult. The pandemic has given many a different experience of time, and it made the path beyond the pandemic unclear. For a solution to this problem it was suggested that New Year’s resolutions should be much more short-term than usual.
So, if someone has any new year resolutions for this year is it the best option to keep them short-term? And what do we see as short term? If most resolutions are broken within a month, why bother with long or short-term resolutions, because they are short-term anyway. And if many resolutions appear to fail in the short term, why then should we still look to short term resolutions in our personal lives?
In contrast to the short term resolutions I would like to quote the saying from the British economist John Maynard Keynes who once said; ‘in the long run we’re all dead’. I know, he said it in the 1920-ies during a discussion about using the gold-standard after the Great War. But, his saying; ‘in the long term we’re all dead’, makes us aware of each of our own personal future beyond our horizon.
Keynes spoke about the long term as death, but the long term view in Christianity is not death, but life. The Bible speaks about life through Jesus Christ, like in the words of Peter in 1 Peter 1:3-4; ‘Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future.’
May our new year resolution be to anchor ourselves more and more in God’s promises and set ourselves to learn more from Him through Bible reading and personal life with God. In the long term there’s not death, but life, through Christ our Lord and Saviour.