O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith

New Year’s Resolutions

The month of January is named for Janus, the two-faced Roman deity of doors, gates, beginnings and endings. He’s one of the earliest gods to show up in the Roman pantheon, and he’s usually shown with his two faces looking in opposite directions — one into the past, and one into the future. It’s why the month of January takes its name from him. And it’s why many people pick this time of year to become a more contemporary kind of two-faced freak: a maker of New Year’s resolutions.

With one eye on last year’s failures and one eye on what we hope to become, we set goals for the coming year. Most of us fail to meet them. In fact, a lot of people think these resolutions are stupid because 1) Fewer than one in five adults are able to make significant lifestyle changes, especially health-related ones, as a result of their resolutions; and 2) if you really thought it was important to stop smoking, lose weight, and exercise regularly, you would have done these things already, right?



So some of us use January as a time to be hopeful and look toward the person we want to be. And others use January as a time to be cynical about the hopeful people, who probably won’t end up following through with anything. I’ve seen a variety of statistics, but the most notable one is that 97% of resolutions are never fulfilled. Gulp.

But I’m still in the optimistic first group,
only because I’ve seen New Year’s Resolutions be effective personally — especially in terms of health and fitness. I’ve got a lot of willpower and am pretty disciplined, so a few years ago when I made the decision to get healthy, it worked. Multiple triathlons and thousands of exercise hours later, I’m in much better shape at 37 than I was at 27. (I injured my knee last year and it knocked many of my 2010 resolutions off the table…so I’ll be tackling that half-marathon again this year.)


But this resolution-setting thing has to be more than just making a list. In a lot of cases, it requires a significant lifestyle change. And those take time. Here are some pretty good tips on making lasting lifestyle changes.

One of the things that I hear most about New Year’s resolutions are that you’re more likely to stick to them when you reveal them to someone else. The support helps…as does the potential for shame if you quit your weight loss plan so you can spend your evenings watching NCIS and eating Ding-Dongs.

So today I want to give us a chance to publish our resolutions for other people to see, hoping that it’ll prod us toward success.

This is where you get to participate. In the comments, please list:

1. One resolution you kept in any previous year.
2. One resolution you failed to meet in a previous year.
3. One resolution for 2011.

I’ll do the same. Happy new year!

Comments read comments(9)
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Jason Boyett

posted January 3, 2011 at 9:50 am

1. Back in the 90s, I decided to write a novel as soon as I graduated from college. I did. Never sold it, but I wrote it. It’s still sitting in a closet in my house.
2. In 2009 I resolved to limber up enough in order to be able to touch my toes in that typical bend-over-and-touch-your-toes stretch. I’ve never been able to do it. Still can’t. I’m flexible and in shape, but there’s some kind of physiological weirdness going on in my hamstrings.
3. I’m going to run a half-marathon in April. Training begins in February.

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Charlie Chang

posted January 3, 2011 at 10:25 am

In 2009, I made a resolution to read 12 books in 2010, one a month. I succeeded. The list of them are found at
For a 2010 resolution I said I wasn’t going to eat sweets. That lasted 3 days.
I want to learn how to change my fuel injectors this year.

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Michelle W.

posted January 3, 2011 at 10:35 am

In 2009 I resolved in October to write a fun, ‘anything goes’ novel for once for National Novel Writing Month in November. I did and had a blast.
For a 2010 resolution I was going to read the entire Bible, starting in Genesis and not stopping until I hit the last page in Revelations. I petered out somewhere in Psalms.
This year I want to finish the first draft for a novel I started five years (or so) ago.

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posted January 3, 2011 at 10:47 am

1. I didn’t consider it a resolution as much as an experiment, but in 2010, I gave up added sugar in everything except for bread/crackers, condiments and alcohol. (So yes, that did eliminate dessert for a year.) I went really public with it via a blog ( and I wrote a column about it in my newspaper. And for all intents and purposes, I succeeded. There were a few snafus, before I learned all the names by which sugar goes and I cheated on purpose once for a forkful of frosting off a cake made by the Cake Boss.
2. In multiple previous years, I wanted to read more — sometimes, it was a book a month and other times, it was just a chapter of a book a night. I failed so hard corely at it every time I tried.
3. I don’t have a real resolution this year, but I am making a tradition out of a year-long experiment. This year’s “experiment” is called My Clutter Free Year. I decluttered like I’ve never decluttered before last week and I won’t go to bed at night without putting anything that’s out of place back where it belongs. I’m not worried. If, clearly by the grace of God, I can mostly cut sugar for a year, I can pretty much, by the grace of God, do anything. lol.

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Brad Rhine

posted January 3, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Every year, I seem to make the same three resolutions: lose weight, get more sleep, and read the entire Bible. Every year, I fail. Except this year. At least partially.
1. In 2010 I finally managed to lose weight. I went from 220 to 160 through strict dieting and lots and lots of exercise, including a half marathon. My weight/exercise goal for the coming is not to gain any weight, and to keep exercising. At least one more half marathon and perhaps a full marathon.
2. In 2010, I failed to read the entire Bible. I don’t even remember where I stopped in my Daily Walk Bible.
3. This year, I’m using YouVersion’s Bible in a Year reading program on my iPad to read the entire Bible. I’m three days in, and so far, so good. 362 to go!

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posted January 3, 2011 at 1:43 pm

1. Have i EVER kept a resolution? I don’t think so.
2. I don’t know i’ve ever had firm resolutions, more like, “I’d like to be better at . . . ” The one thing i’ve planned the last few years (and haven’t done) is to be better at keeping up with sending cards for our extended family.
3. I’m going to be better at keeping up with sending cards for our extended family. THIS year, however, i’m going to have Google calendar send me an email about 5 days before the date to remind me to do it. Firmer goals and planning a strategy should help with the success rate.

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posted January 3, 2011 at 5:26 pm

One year I quit smoking. I resented it like all get out…but I think I would have resented lung cancer too. I have kept that for about 3 years!
Every year I fail to slip into a size 2.
This year I resolve to work out 3 times a week…I’m kind of ticked off that I have to actually move my body. But I guess I would be ticked off about all that comes with obesity too.

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posted January 3, 2011 at 9:13 pm

1 & 2. I like to think that I managed to both fail and succeed at my 2010 project (better not to think of it as a resolution): I decided I’d read all the books on my shelves that I hadn’t yet read. Unfortunately, I made the decision while still at my parents’ house for Christmas. When I got home and settled in to make my list, I discovered I’d accumulated, and never read, 59 books over the previous couple of years. Oops? I’ve finished 37 of the books; I cracked the cover of the Peter Drucker tome and decided it wasn’t worth the pain; and I have 21 books remaining. So, I haven’t made it through my shelves yet, but I’m not sure how reading 37 books, cover-to-cover, can be considered a total failure.
3. This year, I’ve embarked on a project with several friends. We’re doing something called the Compact, which means we won’t be shopping for the whole year. We’ll be borrowing or buying secondhand – except for food, drink and a few essentials, of course. Most of us are blogging about it, too. I’m pretty fond of shopping, but I’m also really struggling with the dissonance between genuine faith in Jesus and having lots of stuff while other people suffer. I guess I’m hoping to decrease my footprint as a consumer and address some big faith issues at the same time.

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jay sauser

posted January 3, 2011 at 10:31 pm

1 – read 20 books in a year
2 – memorize 1 and 2 timothy
3 – memorize 1 and 2 timothy

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