Why You Will Fail Your New Years Resolution
Every year, millions of Americans go forward into the New Year with the hope of future change. But that’s it… hope. How many people do you know make a decisive plan of action and methodologically orchestrate future actions with the intent of success, including fail-safes, alternative actions, and calculated endurance? Probably none. We live in a society of reactive, passive action, meaning that the things that we do typically do not follow a line of rationale that stems from future success but instead reacts to the possibility of success. Success here being the optimal completion of an action.
Most people think of their lives as events happening to them. People believe that they can go on a diet, and have weight loss happen to them and then resume a destructive lifestyle. I mean I don’t think these people really believe that the weight loss will just happen, but just the very idea of a diet implies temporality, meaning that change is not really the objective. This is why we all have that family member that is always trying the newest diet yet never makes any progress. The expectation is that when January 1st hits, “I’m going to go hard in the gym and never look back!” Until day 3 comes around and you’re nauseous, your body aches and that tub of ice creams screams out: “YOU DESERVE IT!” The expectation (even if its just subconscious) is that you will begin this diet and have all of your dreams come true when the reality is that completing a goal is about pressing forward not passively experiencing. I have been a part of conversations where I have heard the names of our nation's billionaires associated with luck. LUCK! Could it be that these people were brilliant, impossibly hard workers, and visionary? In a world where life happens to you, the lives of others become the starting point of greed and contempt in our hearts. When life happens to you, there is no hope for a greater tomorrow because you are passively participating in life.
The Reality: You do not take responsibility.
In life, you are not the kind of person that just takes on the world. How do I know this? Because I am you. All of us have a voice inside our head that defaults blame to another person and finding ways to protect our precious ego. This is a natural tendency. On the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks about this very issue in the idea of judging others. He explains that before one judges another person there should be an act of self-examination (Matt 7:1-6).
This idea implies that there is a base tendency to shift blame to another person, to the extent that there may not even be an immediate connection! It is understandable, in some sense, to have something done to you and because you are a victim you respond by defaulting responsibility before examining yourself, but in the scenario that Jesus offers there is recognition that humans are inclined to blame others and pass judgment on situations that do not even involve them, telling the people to take the log out of their eye first.
Let’s be honest; you don’t take responsibility. Instead your automatic default is to shift blame, which means that in the scenario in which you decide to lose weight and opposition comes in the form of sore muscles, fiscal responsibilities, or family obligations you are going to blame your mother for your pore genetics, your boss for giving you too many hours, or your wife/husband for being too demanding. You do it every year and this year won’t be different.
Change Your Life: Take Jesus’ advice.
Jesus is clear that self-examination must take place before you blame other people for your failures. Self-examination and accountability result in active action, taking responsibility for your life, and re-evaluating past failures. Start this year by thinking about why you have failed in the past, what might cause you to stumble, and how YOU will respond. Take responsibility.