The survivor’s guide to New Year’s resolutions that make a real difference

We say it every year, “New year. New me.”

We tell ourselves we’ll live healthier. Save more. Get things done. Love our family and friends better.

If you’re a super type A, you set goals, create new routines, and check off wins. You crush it. That’s what you do.

Most everyone else will dream big for a month, make a little progress, lose steam, and spend the rest of the year feeling (mostly) defeated.

But there’s a way to tackle New Year’s resolutions differently, so you’re more successful in the things that really matter.

Here are our best wisdom, tools, and tips to help you change your life for good.

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1. Seven ways to recover from the holidays

After a hectic holiday season, a little recovery time might be the wisest thing to do before you launch into resolutions. Every decision takes energy, so a holistic approach to mind, soul, and body is essential.

2. Three simple ways to make this year different

There’s no reason to be cynical about New Year’s resolutions. Making a commitment and training yourself to achieve something worthwhile is tremendously empowering. If you don’t know where to start, try these.

3. How to make changes that last

Change never involves a formula, but success and failure do follow patterns. Here’s what to avoid (and what to focus on) if you want your resolutions to stand a chance.

4. Three easy ways to rethink your New Year’s resolutions

A resolution to change a bunch of behaviors might be the last thing you really need. This might help you figure that out before you end up huddled in a ball of tears on the couch. Bonus: This message from Meredith Knox about the problem with New Year’s resolutions. 

5. Your best New Year’s resolution starts with a question

Who says? Who says you have to lose 10 pounds? Get to the gym four days a week? Learn a new skill or hobby? The source of many of resolutions area ideas about what we think we should do, not what God wants you to do. What if you thought about your goal-setting agenda as an agenda for prayer? “God, how you do want my ____ to look different this year?” Fill in the blank — your health, your career, your finances, your family. Willpower doesn’t bring lasting change. Only the will of God and the power of the Holy Spirit by faith.

6. What are you looking for in a blessed life?

The heart behind every New Year’s resolutions begins with a desire for a flourishing life. But what does that really mean, anyway? The “why?” questions matter the most. It’s always worth going on this five-day spiritual journey. If you’re serious about change, there’s no difference between starting Jan.1 or Jan. 6.

7. One small thing that makes a big difference

What if you don’t have a major goal to reach? That’s not a bad place to be. A lot of the things that make the biggest difference in our lives start with small seeds of faith and actions we take daily.

Reading NewSpring Daily Devotionals is a simple way to make change happen day to day. You’ll renew your mind with a short reflection on Scripture, and you’ll get questions to help you apply what you’ve learned. Pro tip: Text “Read My Bible” to 30303, and you’ll get them delivered to your phone as a daily reminder.

8. How to find good friends

Your mom was right! The people you surround yourself with have the greatest impact on your life. (The Bible says so, too.) Your efforts to change — whether big or small  — will be more successful when you’ve got people to encourage you, support you, and remind you what it’s important and why.

Check out our other survival guides.

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