It’s only the first week of 2019 and by some accounts, 75% of Americans who made new year’s resolutions have broken them already.
If you’re among this group – or have yet to establish goals for this year – take heart. You can find all you need to know about making and keeping resolutions in the Bible, from leading a more Christ-centered life to making smarter financial decisions.
Scripture urges Christians to examine their lives regularly, and there’s no better time to evaluate your relationship with God than the start of a new year.
The new year-new you momentum could be due to the “fresh-start effect.” Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania proposed in 2014 that people are more motivated to set and maintain “aspirational behavior” – think losing weight, eating healthier or exercising regularly – following events marking the passage of time.
Likewise, focusing on the “why” driving your resolutions is motivating, says Christine Whelan, Ph.D., clinical professor in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She points out that you have a greater likelihood of reaching a goal if you base it on a value, such as being a good role model for your children.
Approaching new year’s resolution-making in tandem with living out your faith could be the key to achieving your goals successfully. For example, did you know there are more than 2,000 verses in the Bible about how to handle money?
Here are five Biblically inspired ways to make and keep resolutions this year.
- Don’t go it alone. Are you relying on your willpower or seeking God’s help to keep your resolutions? (Psalm 121:2)
- Do what you say you’ll do. Most of us have the best intentions when making resolutions. And then life takes over. After a harried day at work, you stop for fast food on your way home instead of cooking a healthy, low-cal meal. Your client moved up a deadline, so you skip the gym to get in early to the office. You’re proud of your work, so you reward yourself with a new (unbudgeted) gadget. We all face stumbling blocks every day. Our decision to resist making excuses and stick to our resolutions is part of God’s word. (Proverbs 25:11)
- Budget. Almost every piece of financial advice begins with budgeting, and as Jesus reveals, planning – and sticking to it – is part of living a faith-based life. (Luke 14: 28-31) Create successful financial habits this year by planning what to do with every dollar you earn. To kick start the process, we offer some tips for people who avoid budgeting, ways to get your budget back on track and even how to plan for special occasions, such as Valentine’s Day.
- Increase your income. Will 2016 be the year you search for a better job, ask for a raise or get a promotion? Maybe you’ve decided to return to school and earn a degree? Congratulations! By stewarding your God-given talents prudently, you can accomplish your goals. (Matthew 25:14-30)
- Live debt-free. Are you seeking to live a less materialistic life? It could be time to reduce your dependency on money. (Ecclesiastes 5:10) Maybe create an emergency fund, set up a retirement account or save money for long-term major purchases? How about paying off credit card balances every month and become a savvy user of consumer debt? (Psalm 37:21)
We hope you’ll include ECCU on your journey toward living a Biblically-based financial life. To help you along your path, we’ll publish perspectives about affirming your Evangelical faith through personal finance choices throughout this year. Please check back often!