11 Resolutions Everyone Should Consider Making Next Year

New Year's resolutions you'll actually want to keep.

We’ve all done it: Made resolutions to work out regularly, to stick to a budget, to eat better. Those are all great goals. And they can pay off if we stick to them. But the thing about strict resolutions is that when we break them, it can feel like we’ve failed, and it becomes easy to ditch them altogether.

That’s why we’ve created this list of 11 New Year's resolutions that everyone should consider making in 2016. These aren’t just based on do’s and don’ts, but small habits that can make a difference in our lives—even if we don’t do the best job of always sticking with them (see No. 7).

To Spend More Time in Conversations that Matter

Too often, days at a time can go by with the conversations we have with our friends, family members and co-workers going no deeper than surface-level chit-chat. Though there’s nothing wrong with joking around, theorizing about the latest episode of Serial or strategizing about fantasy football, if we’re not intentional about regularly engaging in deeper conversations—that challenge us intellectually, spiritually and socially—too often, those types of talks can become increasingly rare.

Complaining about something can offer momentary relief from frustrations, but working on solutions to the problems in our world can actually fix the things that are broken.

To Complain Less and Do More

We’re all guilty of it from time to time: We see something broken—in culture, the Church, the government, in our own personal relationships—and our first instinct is to vent about it instead of thinking of ways we can help change it. Complaining about something can offer momentary relief from frustrations, but working on solutions to the problems in our world can actually fix the things that are broken.

To Spend Less Time Worrying

Any time spent worrying is time wasted. It’s also counterproductive. As author and activist Corrie ten Boom said in The Hiding Place, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength."

To Pray More

It’s easy to pray less when we have lots of things to do, but really, life should work in the opposite way. As Martin Luther once said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” No matter how busy we become, committing to spend more time praying—even if it’s during our commute, when we’re working out or throughout our day—is a key to growing spiritually.

To Listen to More New Music Every Week

With the rise of platforms like SoundCloud, NoiseTrade, Spotify and Pandora, keeping up with new music releases has never been more involved. But it’s also never been easier to find new artists and get introduced to songs you’ve never heard. Next year, consider making even more margin to check out innovative music and the artists who are shaping culture.

To Cut Others Some Slack

In the social media era, where everyone’s opinion gets a platform, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of getting angry at our friends over things they say that we don’t agree with. Unfortunately, many times, that same mindset of taking offense at dumb stuff people say or do creeps into real-world relationships, the Church and workplaces. The thing is, most of the time, outrage is overrated. In 2016, commit to be offended less and reserving your anger for issues that really matter.

To Cut Yourself Some Slack

We’ve all been driven to try to accomplish things but ended up falling short. We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all failed. The good news is, God doesn’t expect perfection from us, and we shouldn’t expect it from ourselves. Next year, when you mess up, drop the ball or let people you care about down, do what you can to make it right, but be quick to move on and show yourself the same grace you extend to others.

Though being able to take a stand for what you believe is an admirable trait, so is listening to the other side and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

To Read More Good Books

In a letter to a friend, C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Clearly, one must read every good book at least once every 10 years.” Considering that there are thousands of “good” books to choose from, Lewis’ advice doesn’t seem all that practical, but that doesn’t make it any less powerful. No matter how much time you currently spend reading, there is even more potentially life-changing wisdom in the pages penned by some of humanity's great minds. All you have to do is take the time to read it.

To Challenge Our Own Presuppositions More Often

Just take a look at recent news headlines, ongoing current events and debates in the Church, and it’s clear to see that we live in polarizing times. Though being able to take a stand for what you believe is an admirable trait, so is listening to the other side and putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. Even if we don’t end up changing our position on an issue, questioning our own long-held presuppositions doesn’t just serve to challenge our beliefs—it can actually strengthen them.

To Spend Less Time on Your Phone

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When you reflect back on 2016 this time next year, you probably won’t remember your new Candy Crush high score or that listicle of things you didn’t know about the cast of Boy Meets World. Even if you’re not a full-fledged app addict, in the era of the iPhone, we can all use a little less time looking at screens, and more time enjoying the people and places around us.

To Share More Meals with People You Care About

We’re all busy. And, the reality is, a lot of times it’s just more convenient to go to the drive-thru, eat lunch at your desk or use dinnertime to catch up on some Netflix. There’s nothing wrong with doing this every once in a while, but when eating on the run becomes a lifestyle, you end up depriving yourself—and others in your life—of moments that could be used to build deeper relationships.

Editor's Note: A version of this story originally ran in Dec., 2014.

Top Comments

Estel M.

1

Estel M. commented…

This is a good list for people like me who want to make (and feel) a qualitative change in their lives next year. It's so easy to expect too much of ourselves in the area of quantitative self-improvement only to fail big time because we neglected the issues that really matter - our heart, attitudes, and character. Far better to commit to simple, small acts that help us make the most of our time without neglecting our priorities.

I appreciate the way the author presented these 'resolutions' as bite-size portions that I can manage in real life. Looking forward to share these with my friends not only on social media but over lunch dates (wink, wink).

George Dwyer

29

George Dwyer replied to Wendy Dibble-Lohr's comment

The Church already did this ages ago. Matter of fact, many churches (Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Episcopalian) sing the Psalms as part of their worship.

6 Comments

Estel M.

1

Estel M. commented…

This is a good list for people like me who want to make (and feel) a qualitative change in their lives next year. It's so easy to expect too much of ourselves in the area of quantitative self-improvement only to fail big time because we neglected the issues that really matter - our heart, attitudes, and character. Far better to commit to simple, small acts that help us make the most of our time without neglecting our priorities.

I appreciate the way the author presented these 'resolutions' as bite-size portions that I can manage in real life. Looking forward to share these with my friends not only on social media but over lunch dates (wink, wink).

Lauren Mitchell

1

Lauren Mitchell commented…

Well said and agree, Estel!

Wendy Dibble-Lohr

3

Wendy Dibble-Lohr commented…

New music, yeah, I oughtta try. But what about the music God Himself gave us (in some version)? Love God, love God's lyrics: Psalms 1-150 and other Bible songs? Would you rather tell Larnelle Harris that Psalm 119 is a singable lyric, or tell the Holy Ghost that it is not? Crown & Covenant Publications publishes Psalters that turn all of each Psalm, 1-150, into hymns: a good start, upon which we may freely improve, and not the only source of Psalms for actual singing. (Andrew Lohr, husband of Wendy). I've sung thru their "Book of Psalms for Singing" probably several dozen times, with small improvements and tune swaps.

George Dwyer

29

George Dwyer replied to Wendy Dibble-Lohr's comment

The Church already did this ages ago. Matter of fact, many churches (Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Episcopalian) sing the Psalms as part of their worship.

Adam Morgan

1

Adam Morgan commented…

"To pray more."
In the description Martin Luther is quoted. Martin Luther also said, "Reason is the devil's whore." Follow his words if you like.

Carlos Rodriguez

98

Carlos Rodriguez commented…

The Most Important Resolutions For The New Year Church:

1. End the prosperity gospel.

2. Stop criticizing those in the prosperity gospel. (Or anybody else in the family of God.)

3. Figure out how to do 1 and 2 at the same time, honorably.

4. Deny the temptation to be political in an election year. And let people vote as they decide without assuming that they are evil or ignorant.

And 31 More: http://www.happysonship.com/new-year-church

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