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A Different Take on New Year's Resolutions

The start of a new year is a natural time to examine our lives and make goals for how we want to change and grow. I hate, though, that so many resolutions are rooted in guilt and shame. We take a look back at our year and see all the ways we feel we’ve messed up or fell short. We see all the things we’d like to change about ourselves, and we determine to make this year the year we do it right. But let’s be honest: guilt and shame are terrible motivators, and they likely won’t keep you going for very long.

At The Perch, we’re looking at resolutions a bit differently. We start first with the acceptance that no matter what we’ve done or failed to, no matter the ways we’ve changed or the ways we’ve stayed the same, God deeply, wholly, fully, unconditionally loves us. Out of this love, God invites us into a thriving, flourishing, healthy life—the life we were created to live. And so, resolutions, rather than being motivated by all the ways we think we’re wrong or unworthy or messed up, become about taking a step into living that life we were made for. To be sure, we’ll do this imperfectly. We’ll stagger forward a few steps, and perhaps back a few as well. We’ll try out a practice that we hope works, and find out along the way that it doesn’t do what we expected. But these are not failures. These are not indictments on who we are or how worthy we are. Instead, they are simply part of the human experience. We are imperfect people traveling through an imperfect world, while all the while we were created for beauty and love and hope and flourishing. There’s bound to be some missteps, and we can embrace them as part of the journey.

We’ll be talking more about this idea at the Empty & Fill Retreat on January 4, and I hope you’ll join us! We’ll talk about how we can reflect on 2019 in healthy, helpful ways so that we can move forward in 2020 grounded in who we are created to be, steeped in God’s love, and with a vision for the flourishing, love-filled life we were made for.

If you’re ready to put aside the guilt- and shame-driven resolutions and instead take some small steps into a life of flourishing and celebrating who you are, I offer these tools:

Perfect for you if you want to work on thinking of yourself in the way God thinks of you: with deep, unconditional loving-kindness.

Perfect for you if you want to work on being present in your everyday life, savoring each moment, and seeing how God is showing up.

Perfect for you if you want to work on seeing the blessings and gifts in your life and making a habit of showing your gratitude.

Perfect for you if you want to work on a regular practice of reflecting on your life to see who you are, how you’re growing, and how God is working in your life.

Perfect for you if you want to work on learning more about the history of race in America and how you can be a positive change.

Perfect for you if you want to work on connecting with others more this year. Get this great book, read it, and join us on January 13 for our book discussion!

Perfect for you if you want to explore new ways to connect with God and grow in your faith.

Perfect for you if you want to explore tools and practices for growth based on your Enneagram type.

Perfect for you if you want to work on accepting God's deep, full, unconditional love for you.

Amy Jackson is founder and director of The Perch.

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