Statistics tell us that by now at least one in four of you have already broken your New Year’s Resolutions. By next week it will be it will be over 30% and by the end of the month over half of the New Year’s Resolutions made amid the champagne and euphoria of December 31, 2012, will have deflated and been cast aside along with the balloons and streamers of that long forgotten party. According to www.statisticbrain.com only 8% of New Year’s Resolutions ever become permanent changes in a person’s behavior.
Many of you I’m sure are smiling to yourselves and thinking, “that’s why I don’t make resolutions.” Bull! You do so make resolutions, you just don’t tell anyone about them because you’re afraid of the ridicule if you fail. The same study published on the website above says that 45% of people admit to making a New Year’s Resolution every year and 17% admit to making them some years. I’m sure the real number is much higher than that.
The number that really stands out to me here is that people who admit to making resolutions are 10 times more likely to succeed than those who don’t. Why is that?
One word – Accountability!
When you let people know what your resolution is, you are now accountable to the people you told to see it through. It becomes real. That’s perhaps both the number one reason why people claim they don’t make resolutions and why those who do fail so miserably. There is little to no accountability.
I talk a lot about community on this blog. Developing and maintaining a community of love and support from family and friends is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Most people don’t want to be held accountable for things, it’s a scary word that brings up images of punishment and consequences but it doesn’t have too. Accountability can still be gentle and loving.
Many people will say that they don’t need the accountability of a community that their actions and decisions are between them and God. But that’s a cop out. God exists in relationship, and he is most visible through human relationships. That’s why Jesus said that “where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.” [Matthew 18:20]
So if you’ve made a New Year’s Resolution, especially if you are struggling to keep it, bring it in to community and allow those closest to you to join on the journey with you and hold you accountable. I promise God will honor that and join you as well. And if you still don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions that’s okay, but when you decide to make a major life change that requires a change in behavior don’t try to do it alone. These things always work best in community.