Surprisingly, I don’t find that frustrating at all.
Such resolutions as I have are not on a formal list, and not overly specific, but they’re the sort of things I routinely strive for. If something is worth doing, it’s generally worth doing all the time.
New Year’s, by dint of the calendar, always follows Thanksgiving and Christmas, both of which involve lots of tempting food and the inevitable addition of a few pounds, so healthier eating habits and adequate exercise are always at the forefront of my goals for a new year. God has given me a healthy, functioning body, and taking care of it is a matter of responsible stewardship.
The holidays also remind me of how important people are, and how easy it is to get self-focused and fail to be as compassionate and kind to others as I would like to be. Taking more time for others, then, is always near the top of my list.
If I’m serious about caring for others, that also means I should do what I can to promote social justice for all people, including people I’ve never met and am unlikely to know. That includes speaking up for folks who are especially close to God’s heart, those who are poor or oppressed or discriminated against, whether close to home or in other parts of the world.
All of these things are aspects of what I think it means to follow the prophet Micah’s admonition:
He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
These ideals never get old, and as long as we live, they are never fully accomplished. So, if I find myself making the same resolutions every year, perhaps that doesn’t suggest failure as much as trying to stay on track with what God has set as a life-long path.
Professor of Old Testament at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina, and the Contributing Editor and Curriculum Writer at Good Faith Media.