Site icon Author Peter DeHaan

Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions You Won’t Keep

form habits

Instead of Resolutions, Form Habits You Can Sustain

Do you normally make New Year’s resolutions? How’s that work for you? When I used to do that, things never turned out so well.

I might make it a couple weeks, rarely more than a month, and a few times my resolutions were no more than good intentions.

Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions

That’s why I stopped making New Year’s resolutions. Though I set annual goals for myself, my writing, and my business, I avoid New Year’s resolutions. In their place I work to form habits. Here’s why.

A New Year’s resolution is something that implicitly takes a year to realize. That’s a big chunk of time, 365 days. This represents a huge commitment that’s overwhelming when we look at it from day one.

Strive to Form Habits

Instead, when we seek to form habits, it’s a day-to-day situation. All we need to worry about is doing this one thing today. I can do that. You can do that. We can all do that.

Then tomorrow, we seek to do it again. It’s another one-day commitment. This isn’t hard, and we can do that too. Now we have a streak going. We’ve done this one task for two days in a row. Can we make it three?

Yes, we can. All it takes to make a three-day streak is to do this one task one more day. No big deal. Then, day by day, our streak lengthens. A few days becomes a week.

We don’t want to break our streak, so we continue. A couple weeks becomes a month. By then we’ve formed a habit.

Before we know it, we have a long streak going. When we hit 365 days, we’ve gone for a whole year. But because it’s a habit, we don’t even give it much thought. After a while, we just do it.

Once we form habits, they’re easy to keep—much easier than a New Year’s resolution.

Make Reading the Bible a Habit

I’m talking about New Year’s resolutions because it’s that time of year when our thoughts turn to such things. For people who follow Jesus, our New Year’s resolution may be to read through the Bible during the year.

Frankly, that’s a foreboding task. The Bible is a long book, and some of it—to be honest—isn’t that interesting. Yet it’s important, and we know we should read it.

That’s why we make a New Year’s resolution, but most of us fall away from it after a few days or a couple weeks.

Instead, strive to form a habit of reading the Bible each day. Start one day. It’s easy to do. Then do it a second day. Then, each day work to keep the streak going. Before long we’ve turned daily Bible reading into a habit.

To help guide us in this, there are several daily Bible reading plans on There’s a New Testament plan, an Old Testament plan, and a plan to read the entire Bible in one year.

If this is too much for you to fathom, then consider a monthly Bible reading plan, which you can start any time of the year.

And to encourage you in this, our posts for each Tuesday will follow along in our plan to read the entire Bible this year. Hopefully, this will encourage you as you work to form a Bible-reading habit.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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