“3. Resolved, If ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.”

– Jonathan Edwards, in his own Resolutions, begun in his teenage years.

One of the reasons the experts give for the third Monday in January being the gloomiest day of the year (I assume in the Northern Hemisphere) is “failed resolutions.”

OOOGAH-OOOGAH-OOOGAH! MISNOMER ALARM!! How can a resolution for a whole year be failed by the third week? The very word resolution means determination, even when one has fallen short, or even completely messed up. Resolution gets back up, dusts itself off, and picks up where it left off…

OR makes wise modifications and starts all over again.

The modifications may be the real life savers.

How would you like (even though we’ve already passed mid-January) still to get to the end of 2012 with five or six new well-established habits? Without stress. (A habit here is a small routine you carry out with steadfastness.)

This is possible. Without angst. Without strain.

If. You. Keep it. Simple.


New habit building is


If we let it be.


But we don’t.

We make it complicated.

Because simple looks unimpressive. Boring. Complicated looks heroic.


Keep it simple.

You don’t think six or seven. You think. Just. One.

You don’t think whole big year. You think “till the end of February.” Or something like that.

You realize that one month of steady repetition will make a routine. And if you just continue, steady, for another month of that routine, you’re getting into a real habit.


If I get a new routine-becoming-habit fairly well established by March 1, say, or April 1, then I can begin working on another, as I almost automatically continue the first. My second habit can be making its own rut by June, a third by August, a fourth by October… Get it? Don’t sweat it!

This worked for me with laundry, which, honestly I now do not mind doing. In fact, now I rather enjoy it, folding the warm linens and clothes, smelling their freshness…

And so far this same method has been working in the spiritual area over the past two years, and this month, too, as I continue and expand my aspirations.

Next post, I’ll share with you how this came about, how it works specifically, in detail, in either housekeeping or spiritual (or any other) discipline.

I hope you’ll stop back then, and in the meantime, I hope you’re showing yourself some mercy and grace:

First, it’s grace to consider what you have achieved. Each single time you did the good thing you wanted, you made a step in the right direction. And you know what every journey begins with.

Second, you might show yourself mercy and (re)consider your aspirations. Are they a little too over-the-top? Can you break them down into smaller sub-habits, baby steps more achievable, less stressing, and, like Jesus, keep your burden light?

Third, it helps immensely to realize the first thing Jonathan Edwards said in his Resolutions: “… I am unable to do any thing without God’s help, [so] I do humbly entreat Him, by His grace, to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to His will, for Christ’s sake.”

Stay tuned.

(Now I must go attend to my messy kitchen!)


Related Posts:

The Big Importance of Small Things

Best: Small Steps and Slow

Linked to

Walk with Him Wednesdays


11 thoughts on “Resolution Fail? Not!

  1. So smart- a lot like the 3 in 30- I may keep my same 3 goals for the first quarter!!!

    Thx for linking up with count me accountable!!

    1. Hi Kristi,
      I’m not familiar with the 3 in 30, but I can guess what it is. And am just so glad that this can be of some downright practical value to someone! I would also, like you, keep the same three goals for the first quarter. I think everything would stick so much better. Let me know later this year how this works out for you, okay?
      And thanks so much for visiting and commenting!

  2. Great advice! Keep it simple…check yourself regularly…reap the benefits of the accomplishment. You have me curious what your laundry resolution is though. I probably should have made one for that area of my life because it seems to always be in chaos! Lol! 🙂


    1. Well, Rosann, the only reason the “laundry” post isn’t up today is that I decided not to push myself so on getting umpteen posts published per… So, maybe tonight, or tomorrow! Thanks so much for your visit and your encouraging comment. Special blessings to you and yours!

  3. Love this!!
    So smart — think of a smaller section of time… just until February break, just until April…
    Much easier to process.


  4. Great post. I stopped making resolutions several years ago and started naming one word for the year. I still set goals for myself, but skip the annual resolutions. 😉

    1. Me too, Hope. No new *year’s* resolutions! I make new *month’s* resolutions, but not every month. Sometimes I just aim to re-establish old routines that have gotten discombobulated.
      I like the idea of choosing a word for the year. This is the first year I’m trying it. Interested to see how this works out — and all of this, always, with the help of God’s grace.
      Thanks for visiting and commenting. God bless your new year!

  5. My father in law used to say, “you have to crawl before you can walk.” When we look in the too distant future, a task can seem impossible. When we take it day by day and week by week, before we know, a year has passed.


    1. Wry wisdom, Joan. I’ll have to remember that. (Especially during those times when I feel like I’m just crawling!) Thanks for visiting and commenting.

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