By now, you have made it through Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas work parties, Christmas family gatherings, and New Year’s Eve festivities! Congratulations on your holiday season victory, my single friend! With the start of the new year, most people are looking forward and figuring out what tone they want to set for their lives over the next 12 months.
The usual way people do this is by setting some sort of New Year’s resolution for themselves. If you’re like most people, your New Year’s resolution is probably something along the lines of losing weight (preaching to the choir here), organizing your home (oh man, I totally need this one) and getting a handle on finances (yes, please!). I almost always have the idea that I want to lose weight in the back of my mind, but rarely set it as an actual resolution because I don’t want to set myself up for failure like that (keep in mind that I’m snacking on M&M’s as I write this, but I had a yogurt for breakfast, so that makes it okay, right? ).
New Year’s resolutions can come with a certain amount of implied pressure that can leave you feeling pretty lousy before February even starts. This year, why not resolve to do something that can truly make a difference in your life by making God the center of your resolution? The best part is that if you slide back on it, you won’t feel like a total failure, because you are loved by the God of second chances and He is there to restore and renew our hearts and minds toward success!
Isaiah 40:31 says that “they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” God’s got you through this and while we may not always be successful in our resolutions through our own flesh, we can always be renewed through the strength of Christ! So here are 7 New Year’s resolutions for singles to help you conquer the new year ahead.
- Exercise more. As I mentioned before, I usually have a “lose weight” goal in my head, but don’t usually say it out loud. I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of traditional exercise. I’d rather do almost anything else than go to the gym or do a kickboxing workout. I’m more into non-traditional exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise while you’re doing it. Things like biking, dancing, swimming, hiking/ walking, etc. are more up my alley. Yes, I know that daily exercise is good for you. Yes, I know that I need to move more. We all know the benefits of increased exercise, but it’s also important to exercise spiritually as well as physically. We can do this by pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones and doing something more with our faith. Something like taking on the role of leading a small group or joining to help with a ministry that you may not have thought to join before. Reach out and start a conversation about Jesus with someone new. In order for our muscles to grow, we must break them down through exercise so that they rebuild themselves larger and stronger. This same principle holds true spiritually as well. We need to break down our insecurities and push ourselves outside of what is comfortable if we hope to build our spiritual muscles up and make them stronger.
- Meet new people. As single people, this one is kind of a given. If you’re looking to meet a possible future spouse, and you’re not romantically interested in anyone you already know (or they are not interested in you), then it makes sense that you’d need to expand your pool of friends and acquaintances. In order to keep God at the center of this endeavor, it would be best to meet new people through an activity that tends to attract others with a similar passion for God. Consider volunteering, serving at church, joining a new small group, or reach out to your current friends and organize a get together where they can bring friends that you may not already know. Keep yourself grounded though, just because you get out there and meet new people does not automatically mean that you will meet your soul mate, but it never hurts to meet new friends and spread a bit of God’s light in the process.
- Make peace with yourself. This one may, in all honesty, be a life long resolution. I’d like to be able to say that it’ll resolve itself over the next year, but I don’t want to lie to you, dear single reader. This one is something that I’ve made GREAT improvements on over the past 3 or 4 years, but I know that I have several more years ahead of me before I can truly say that I’m at peace with myself. Experts usually agree that in order for you be a good spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever, you generally need to be confident and solid in yourself. As Christians, we also need to have a solid grounding in God’s truth and guard our hearts against the negative influences of this world.It’s important to remember that your past is just that… in your past. Remember that scene in the Lion King where Rafiki hits Simba on the head with his big stick? He tells Simba that it doesn’t matter because the past is in the past and while the past can hurt you can either run from it or learn from it. (I’ll pause here if you need to get a tissue). Who you were does not necessarily dictate who you will be, as long as you acknowledge your past issues and address them head on. And of course confess anything you need to confess to God and allow His peace to heal you. It doesn’t do you any good to dwell on your past indiscretions when God has given you a new life and made you new through Jesus! So make peace with you were, love who you are, and have hope for who you are becoming because God is with you!
- Stop comparing yourself to others. I recently had a discussion with a friend about the perils of social media. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Facebook and Twitter feeds because they help me to feel connected to my friends and the world. If you’re not careful, however, time spent scrolling through your social media feed can turn into a self loathing session of comparison to the “perfect” lives that everyone projects on their social media accounts. In our modern world of airbrushed, contoured, Snapchat filtered “perfection” we tend to forget that nobody and I mean NOBODY has a “perfect” anything. So don’t believe the lies that your happily married best friend with 3 gorgeous and perfect children posts online, she has just as many ups and downs as you. Remember that God is the only one who is perfect. We are human and we are all IMPERFECT, so there’s no sense in comparing yourself to others all the time. It will only drive you crazy and make you bitter.Unfortunately, there will always be someone thinner, smarter, and more successful than you. That doesn’t mean that you should give up on trying to be the best you that you can be. It also doesn’t need to be an all consuming obsession. Allow that desire to drive your motivations because you want to be a better person, not because you want to be better than someone else. God doesn’t compare us to others like we do. He holds us all accountable based on His standards, not in comparing how “good” we are compared to Joe Schmo over there. When the final judgment comes, God’s going to judge me in the same way that He judges you. So give yourself a break and learn to love yourself for who you are, because you are God’s creation and we are all equal in His eyes.
- Make peace with others. If you’re the type of person who can hold a grudge, then this may be the resolution for you. If you’re the type of person who likes to create drama among others, then this resolution may be for you. While it’s important to make peace with ourselves, sometimes it’s necessary for us to make peace with others as well. Romans 12:18-21 reminds us “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. ‘But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink, for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’”Not only is it physically unhealthy to keep anger for others bottled up, it’s spiritually unhealthy as well. This doesn’t mean that you should be a doormat. If someone has actually sinned against you, then you have a right to be upset… but you need to give it to God and trust that He will be the one to deliver justice. You don’t even need to physically meet up with the person to air your grievances, but you can forgive them within your heart. You might say, “well they don’t deserve it.” Yes, this may be true, but you’re not forgiving them for them, you forgive them because it’s what God calls us to do and it will help to free you from harboring those negative and spiritually detrimental forces from your life. God will serve justice in the end and we need to trust that.
If you have sinned against someone else, then you need to have some serious prayer time and follow what God guides you to do, which will likely be to make amends with the person you have wronged. If you’re aware enough to acknowledge that you’ve wronged someone, then you should have the foresight to know that you need to apologize. The person may not accept your apology and you should be ready for that real possibility, but as long as you truly repented and have confessed your sin to God, then you can rest assured that you tried “so far as it depend[ed] on you, [to] be at peace” with that person.
- Stop the negative self talk. How can I put this simply? Oh yes, GOD LOVES YOU just as you are! So stop beating yourself up because you don’t live up to some imperfect perception of perfection based on the ideas of our broken world. Stop telling yourself that you’ll never find love, you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not strong enough, not whatever enough. If you really struggle with this concept, then take a look at my other post about being enough to dig more in depth about how to conquer these negative feelings.A good rule of thumb for conquering negative self talk is to recognize what you’re saying in your head. If you wouldn’t say that to your best friend, then you shouldn’t be saying it to yourself. Another angle could be, do you think that God would ever tell you what you tell yourself? If He wouldn’t say it to you, then you shouldn’t either.
- Make peace with God. How can I put this simply? Oh yes, GOD LOVE YOU just as you are! See what I did there? God loves us. That’s all there is to it. If you’re mad at God for something that happened to you in your past, just know that your anger doesn’t decrease God’s power and it certainly doesn’t negate His existence. He loves you more than you can possibly fathom, even when you’re angry with Him. He’s always there, so if you’ve been hurt and are holding on to that pain, it’s time to let it go. Allow God to fill your angry heart with His peace and prepare to move on and live in freedom. If you need further guidance in this area, I urge you to seek counsel by talking with a trusted friend, family member, or pastor who has a solid faith and can guide you on how best to address your anger or hurt with God.
New Year’s resolutions are never easy. If they were, then you wouldn’t need to truly change that part of your life. As always, pray and seek God’s wisdom about what area of your life you need most improvement with. Over the next year, just remember that God is right there with you through whatever you may be struggling with. God gives us the strength and resolve we need to be renewed through His strength, so pull up a seat at His table and share your struggles while allowing Him to help you grow more than you could ever know!