Happy New Year! With the opening of a new calendar come parties with 10-second countdowns, the Rose Bowl parade, lots of football, and social gatherings with delicious foods and 2017 themed glasses, cups, and plastic hats. Alongside the festive cheer and fellowship, however, comes the dreaded New Year’s Resolution.

I can feel the sighs and hear the groans…perhaps you’ve already failed and joined the 92% of Americans who will fail at keeping their New Year’s Resolution. Why do we put ourselves through the annual resolution torture? And why is failure almost a guarantee?

As we start 2017, let’s consider those dreaded Resolutions from a more uplifting perspective.

Celebrate even if you’ve already failed: That’s right, even if you’ve already blown it, simply attempting a resolution is reason to celebrate. The fact that you made an effort is a huge step….after all, Forbes estimates that 38% of Americans don’t even attempt a New Year’s Resolution. So celebrate that you were honest with yourself about something in your life that needs improving. In a culture that constantly blames others and makes excuses for our problems, actually acknowledging a personal shortcoming and desiring to change is reason to celebrate!

Expect some failure: Even if you’ve failed, all is not lost! Besides, while there is great power in expecting to succeed, it’s probably a bit irrational to think an ingrained habit or consistent negative behavior will disappear immediately. There will probably be set-backs and a repeat of prior mistakes. But that doesn’t mean the whole resolution project should be abandoned. It just means whatever you’re battling is probably not going away overnight and you should expect challenges, temptations, set-backs, and possibly even failure. However, it’s crucial to remember that we only fail if we quit, refuse to try again, or embody a defeatist attitude.

SO what goes wrong for 92% of us: After reading the previous paragraph, your mind probably said…if I don’t succeed then I need to try harder. And that is where we ultimately fail….the change we desire in our lives simply cannot occur through human willpower. Will we have to work hard and be disciplined….absolutely! But none of us can work hard enough to change ourselves. If we place our human willpower over God’s spiritual power, our New Year’s Resolutions will assuredly fail. However, we will see a huge drop in the 92% failure rate if we avail ourselves to the new birth, embrace the possibilities of a new life in Christ, and open ourselves to receive the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

Outward behavioral change can only occur though inward spiritual changes in our lives. For a brief video on ways to bring spiritual power into your New Year’s Resolutions, please click here.