The Problem With January

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As we begin 2014 many of us are looking ahead with hope for fresh starts and fulfilled dreams and changed lives. To the extent that New Year’s resolutions are the triumph of hope over experience we are modern torch-bearers for the time honored tradition of human hopefulness. I like what that says about us!
New Years is a great opportunity to reflect on the past with thankfulness and maybe a little grief or even regrets.


As we begin this New Year, many of us are looking ahead with hope for fresh starts and fulfilled dreams and changed lives. We go about achieving those dreams in the same old way.

We set entirely unrealistic resolutions that ultimately fail.  Have you already defaulted on at least one of the resolutions that you made only six days ago? I know I have!

I’ve been reading several blogs on the topic of resolutions. Here is what some of those writers are saying.  You can click on their name to link to their whole post.

Be honest. How many of you have scribbled down a list of resolutions? Maybe you’re calling them goals this time, but they look eerily similar to your resolutions from 2013 . . . and 2012 . . Well, you get the picture.
I’ve written, “Lose weight” and “Read through the Bible” on more lists than I can even recall. Every year, I promise myself, that THIS will be the year! THIS will be the twelve months in which I ……   Really it will! Somehow, those lists and declarations never turn out the way I imagine.

What if this year we did something different? Is it possible the result would be different, too?


Don’t waste your time with resolutions this New Year. Focus on something far better-  resolve. While the words are similar there is a vast difference. Call it semantics, but I think the distinction is important. Resolution is something you make; Resolve is something you have.

Resolve is committing to an intentional process that will make you better.

Here’s the bottom line:

  • Goal-setting is admirable
  • Goal- setting is essentially pointless
  • Goals aren’t sustainable.
  • Goals tell you where you want to go
  • Goals don’t tell you how to get there.


You can’t turn the TV on, visit a bookstore or read a magazine without seeing something with the slogan “New Year, New You.” Like many things in our culture such as ads for diet foods and weight loss companies you might feel like you need to board the same train.

You might feel like you need to adopt the same line of thinking and change yourself.

I don’t like the “New Year, New You” sentiment. It misses the whole point of making goals that deeply matter to you; that respect and honor you.

It suggests that we should modify ourselves. It suggests that we need a makeover, an overhaul. Depending on the article, ad or site, the  message is wrapped up in shaming and punitive rhetoric.

There’s something inherently wrong with you. Now change! Change yourself completely.

Behaviors NOT Outcomes

It’s time to commit:

  • To being the type of person you’ve always dreamed of being.
  • To begin to creating new disciplines.
  • To commit to new way of living that will bring different results.
  • To living today not the tomorrows that may never come

Sarah says:

The problem with January, besides the fact that all public gym facilities are completely swamped, is that we expect so much from the future and, because of the new-slate-ness of the month, we are tricked into thinking that it will be different this time around.  We look down the road and see all of the possibilities and then camp there, and only there

In my teens, one of my friend’s mother was always going to “start her diet on Monday.”

I would always think, why not start it now? Why are we waiting until Monday? What is so special about Monday?
There isn’t anything wrong with planning or waiting until a good day to begin a new program, but if the change is something we want to make, let’s begin now.

The problem with January is that if we need to make a change, let’s do it today, not wait until a new year flips over every year.
Mother Teresa makes a good point (quoted above): Let’s not wallow in the past or really figure out the future. Today is important and only that.

James 4:14 says: ‘The reality is you have no idea where your life will take you tomorrow. You are like a mist that appears one moment and then vanishes another.’


The truth is :

  • It is about today.
  • It isn’t about yesterday
  • It isn’t about the future
  • It is about the now.
  • It is about the people and the love that is put in front of us right now.
  • It is about the problems that we can begin to solve today.
  • It is about the simple, small change we can make in one life, right now.


One Word 365

One Word 365 is a community and a movement that began in 2009.Believe300x125

It’s about forgetting resolutions and scrapping your list of goals that you’ll forget by next week – or be overwhelmed by in the same time frame.

Choose just one word. One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live.

One word that you can focus on every day, all year long.

It will take intentionality and commitment, but if you let it your one word will shape not only your year but  you as well.

It will become the compass that directs your decisions and guides your steps. Discover the big impact one word can make. One word. 365 days. A changed life.


Be Brave

Will you be brave and commit to just one word?

Do you believe that one small word

can have a big impact

on your life


on your world?


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One thought on “The Problem With January

  1. I”m going to come back and read some more….need to continue gleaning off these words of wisdom, encouragement and inspiration….blessings this 2014!~