Why I’m a Fan of New Year’s Resolutions and How to Keep Them

Nicole Smithee

In my opinion, New Year’s resolutions get a bad rap. Sure, January 1st is, in truth, just another day on a calendar.  It might seem a bit much that a simple date change elicits such widespread motivation to achieve goals, become better versions of ourselves, or try new things.  But that’s like saying, “It’s Christmas, and because everyone gives gifts on Christmas, I refuse to.”  You can stand in defiance against the norms of Christmas time, but in the end, you will likely be compared to Scrooge or The Grinch, and more importantly miss out on the spirit of the season.

New Years’ resolutions deserve a fair chance this 2018, not out of a loyalty to tradition or a romanticized view of the future, but out of a belief in progress… and to be more specific, a belief in your own progress.

Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you pay off those student loans? Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you read the Bible daily? Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you give back and volunteer your time where it is needed?  Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you get that promotion?  Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you get more connected at your local church?  Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you develop healthy and flourishing friendships?  Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you lose those 20lbs? Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you go back to school and get that degree?  Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you travel to far-away places and make once-in-a-lifetime memories? Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you learn how to cook?  Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you overcome the unresolved hurt from your past?  Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you develop the leadership gifts within you?  Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you become an avid reader?  Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you write the book or start the blog or open the business?

Sure, New Year’s resolutions get made and broken every year.  We all know how crowded the gym is on Jan 2nd compared to Feb 2nd.  But your story can be different.  And your dreams are worth pursuing…

I have a friend who recently told me over coffee that she read over 50 books in 2017. That’s a lot of books. When I asked her how she became such an avid reader, she told me that a friend of hers had made a new year’s resolution a couple years back to read a book a week.  My friend said, “I decided if she could do it, then I could do it too.”

Another friend of my decided last year that she was going to finally launch the podcast she had dreamed about for years.  It’s a new favorite of mine, and I couldn’t be more proud of her for not only achieving her dream but inspiring so many others in the process.  To check out her podcast, click here.

I have another friend who stopped taking care of herself physically after a difficult couple of years.  Last year she decided she wasn’t going to allow her circumstances to determine her health anymore.  She got a nutrition plan, a workout plan, and a coach.  She’s not yet at her target health goals, but in one year she has made tremendous progress!

I love each of these women, and their achievements are astounding.  But none of these women are much different from you and me.  They too have full schedules, challenging circumstances, budgets to live by, and mental hurdles to overcome.  The difference between these women and most women is simply their commitment to maximize their potential.

You are far more capable than you know. You have new adventures to live, new risks to take, new progress to make.  The world needs you to not simply maintain your current status quo; the world needs you to brilliantly shine.  Of course, setting goals and achieving them this year will be hard.  Of course, it will cost you something.  But you can do hard things.  Don’t let your loyalty to comfort outweigh your commitment to progress. Make the New Year’s resolutions. Set the goals.  Put together the plans and give it your all.

And while dreaming and scheming for 2018, here’s some tips on how to achieve your those goals this year:

  1. Pursue progress, not perfection. You will sleep in and miss the gym.  You will at some point get behind on your reading.  You will have a moment of weakness and splurge shop when you should be saving.  DON’T QUIT.  Just because you didn’t follow the plan perfectly one day, doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your goal.  Give yourself some grace, and make the most of the next day.  Refuse to tell yourself something is too hard, and remember to celebrate progress over perfection.


  1. Relationships are your greatest asset. Any goal worth achieving will never be achieved on your own.  You need people in your corner to cheer you on, support you, hold you accountable and provide you with the practical wisdom you need to succeed.  Find a gym buddy.  Get a business mentor.  Go to counseling.  Join a small group at your church.  Start a book club.  Take someone you admire out to coffee and ask them questions that will help you gain wisdom to achieve your goals.


  1. Your goals should not stay top-secret. All too often, we keep our aspirations to ourselves because we are afraid of how we will look if we fail.  Or we are so concerned about what others will think, that we keep quiet about our dreams trying not to rock the boat or ruffle a few feathers.  Nelson Mandela put it best when he said, “As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”  Own your story.  Own your dreams.  Own the struggles and the triumphs.  Don’t let fear and insecurity keep you from shining.  And when you boldly and fiercely go after your goals, you inadvertently invite others to do the same.  Let your journey inspire others.


  1. Pray, and then pray some more. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Remember, friend, that God loves you, and that when you pursue Him above all else, He will give you the grace you need to see breakthrough in your life.  Every day, choose to set aside a few minutes to pray- acknowledging your need for Jesus, inviting Him to teach you and guide your day, and asking Him to bless your plans for progress in miraculous ways.


So, what are your New Years’ Resolutions?  Leave them in the comments below and let’s cheer each other on!

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  • Reply
    December 28, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    I was just thinking today about how I tend to go against making “resolutions” because so few are still in place by February, but I have set a focus/goal for 2018 and that is to simplify and live more intentionally. My husband, daughter, and I are downsizing from our house to an apartment at the beginning of February and I’m so excited to set up a cozy, organized, simple home and use the reduction in house responsibilities to make intentional choices about how I spend my time. I want to grow in my faith and learn to be present and content each moment. Thanks for this much needed encouragement this morning!

    • Reply
      December 29, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      Wow! I am so excited for you, Crystal. I believe this is going to be such a fun and fulfilling year as you reset priorities with your time. Ben and I live in a small apartment in NYC at the moment, and there is something peaceful about less. And cleaning the apartment is a lot quicker than most places! 🙂

  • Reply
    December 28, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    I read a blog post from Equipping Godly Women (a list of 20 resolutions for Christian women) and pulled out these two goals to be my focus for 2018:
    15. Be Content With What You Have
    It can be difficult to be content in America. There are always ads and commercials surrounding us, reminding us to want more, more, more. This year — maybe you want to get intentional about fighting that urge. Perhaps you’d like to try a “No Spend” month, and then save that money for something important or give it to charity?
    16. Keep the Sabbath
    This is another Biblical guideline that is allll too easy to overlook, and yet I don’t think God intended it to be optional. What can you cut out or cut back on this year to leave room for rest and Sabbath?

    I’m still working on the specific, practical ways that this will work, but one thing I decided to put into place is ‘No Social Media after 7pm on a Work Night’ – this will help me stop wasting time in the evening, get to bed earlier and get a better night’s rest.

  • Reply
    December 29, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    I love these goals for 2018! Ben and I are trying a “no spend” month in January, to cut back on expenses and plan for our 2018 financial goals. And the Sabbath is truly how we refuel and refresh, and it honors God. I’m really excited to hear what you discover during those times of rest.

  • Reply
    Cerise Cherry
    December 30, 2017 at 10:14 am

    My main goal is to use my new treadmill to lose the post wedding/marriage weight I’ve put on in the last four years. To stick to my gluten free diet.

    • Reply
      December 30, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      Cerise, that’s awesome! Congrats on the new treadmill! My health goal is to put on some more muscle. So I’ll be a the gym some early mornings while I’m sure you’ll be running! I’m cheering you on, friend! We are in this together. 🙂

  • Reply
    December 30, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    This blog post came just in time I have so many goals and dreams for 2018 but fear of failing and of stepping out of God’s timing makes me hesitant to share my plans and dreams because I don’t want to feel embarrassed if things don’t workout but when you wrote that it’s okay to share your plans with others it sparked something in me and made me realize that I need to have confidence in myself the same way that Jesus has it in me. Thank you for this inspiring post I needed to read this message today.

  • Reply
    December 30, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Wow Joselyne! I am so proud of you, and excited to see where Jesus leads you this next year as you take steps of faith. He will direct your steps, and it is faith that pleases God and creates opportunities to see the miraculous in the everyday. Praying for you and cheering you on!

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