Make Commitments in 2018, not New Year’s Resolutions

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans”— Proverbs 16:3 (NIV).

How many of us make New Year’s resolutions but fail to follow through? We resolve to lose weight and get healthy. We promise ourselves we’ll pay off debt and save money. We plan to give up habits detrimental to our well-being. Most of the time, most of us don’t accomplish what we yearn to do.

Why do we begin a New Year full of hope and promise, only to fall back on old habits and ways of thinking? Is it because we’re trying to accomplish our goals without the help of the One who has our best interests at heart?

Instead of resolutions, what if we made commitments? What would that look like for each of us? What if we saw ourselves through the eyes of God’s Holy Word? Would that make a difference?

Make spiritual growth a commitment

What if our first commitment was to grow spiritually? Would that lead to healthier physical and fiscal habits? Would we drop pounds and fatten our bank accounts so we were physically and fiscally able to help others?

In the “Eight Laws for Spiritual Growth,” teaching pastor Tom Holladay offers the following help:

  1. Spiritual growth is intentional. We must commit to reading and studying the Bible, participating in study groups, seeking out mentors, attending church services on a regular basis and focusing on becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. Spiritual growth is not accidental.
  2. Spiritual growth is incremental. Just as we grow physically with age, we mature spiritually by taking baby steps.
  3. Spiritual growth is personal. We can’t compare ourselves to others. “There is no one-size-fits-all for spiritual growth,” Holladay says.
  4. Spiritual growth is practical.  To be a disciple of Jesus, we must embrace the spiritual disciplines listed in number one.
  5. Spiritual growth is relational. We only grow in community with others. In Hebrews 10:24-25, Paul writes, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another… (NLT).”
  6. Spiritual growth is multi-dimensional. “We are to grow warmer through fellowship, deeper through discipleship, stronger through worship, broader through ministry, and larger through mission,” he says.
  7. Spiritual growth is seasonal. “Nobody grows at a constant pace all the time. Plants don’t grow constantly; they grow in spring and summer and then are dormant in fall and winter,” Holladay explains.
  8. Spiritual growth is incarnational. “The final truth,” he adds, “is that growth is not about what you can accomplish; rather, it’s about the person of Jesus Christ living inside you.”

Crucified with Christ

Galatians 2:20 says, “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Instead of making resolutions in 2018, make commitments. Write Proverbs 16:3 on an index card and post it in a prominent place as a reminder.

I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to leave a comment below or email me at Please check out my latest book, “Growing Confidently in Your Faith.” See my book page at this site.

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10 thoughts on “Make Commitments in 2018, not New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Thanks for sharing this post. I just wrote about making resolutions in the new year as well. But like you, I talk about taking our hearts before God and asking Him what he wants from us. I like how you use the word “commitment” instead of resolution. Blessings to you in this new year!

    • Thank you, Lisa, for the feedback. Yes, we must take our hearts before God and ask Him what He wants from us. It is an ongoing process, isn’t it? I will be drawing for the book giveaway this Friday. Happy New Year and God bless you more in 2018!

  2. I love this post, Carol. I used to feel guilty for not accomplishing all I set out to do. In recent years of learned to be content with forward movement. I like your word–commitment.

    • Thank you, Martha, for the feedback. I, too, have failed to follow through on my resolutions. Now, I make commitments. I plan to draw for a free copy of “Journaling with Jesus” on Friday. Do you have a copy yet?

  3. Thank you Carol!
    What a beautiful truth filled article. I was struck with how powerful the word commitment is. Resolution seems so wish washy. It’s almost like it’s an excuse to try and then quit when and if you want to. Again, thank you for this simple truth!
    God Bless

    • Thank you, Pamela, for your response. I love your insight about resolution seeming so “wishy washy.” You are right. Commitment brings to mind God’s covenant with us. He is committed to pursuing a relationship with us. I appreciate your feedback as it encourages me to continue doing what He has called me to do. I have been writing my weekly column since November 2005. It is always an encouragement to me to know that the words the Holy Spirit gave me are reaching others. That’s why I write. God bless you, Pamela!