Over the years, I’ve actually written quite a bit about New Year’s Resolutions. I am generally a fan, although not in a completely uncritical sort of way. I find it helpful to use the break over Christmas to re-evaluate my life and make changes were it seems appropriate. I’ve realized that this involves habit building rather than rule making. In some cases, it may just be one resolution to rule them all (hint: get up earlier). In others it may involve adding integrating a new habit into an existing one (like adding the 7 minute workout to the end of lift session).
No matter what, it’s important to keep in mind what I’ve said elsewhere:
Remember that New Year’s resolutions are entirely optional. You’re not a bad person if you don’t make them, and perhaps more importantly, if you don’t keep them. I imagine many people have good motivations for making resolutions, have thought through a plan for keeping them, but then fail miserably. Failure can be instructive, but it can also be tempting to despair of guilt when this happens.
Such guilt is well-placed if your New Year’s resolutions are attempts to be your own Lord and Savior. If that really were the case, you would bear the sole responsibility of becoming a better you. Do more. Try harder. Resolutions become a means to an end. It may be too easy to get stuck in this cycle, longing for a verdict of “righteous” that never comes.
Thankfully, the gospel proclaims that our justification before God is grounded not in what we can do but in what God in Christ did. As we are constantly reminded of this, we should reorient our own resolutions away from self and social pressure to resolve from a place where we enjoy the justification that matters most.
We can glorify God in whatever we do, and New Years can be a time to examine if our life habits are doing just that and make adjustments accordingly. For me, this has led to New Year’s resolutions aimed at being a better steward rather than a better savior. When it comes to habits of health, if I’m approaching them as steward instead of savior, I’ll likely be more realistic about what I can accomplish. In addition, I’ll revisit my habits on a regular basis instead of only once a year (or even less).
With that helpful theological caveat in mind, here’s several things I’d like to enhance this New Year:
- Bible reading
For each, there are already baseline habits in place that either need expansion or revision. I’ll post about each in the coming weeks, but one in particular that I wanted to draw your attention to is TheoFit. Paul Maxwell put it together and is running what’s called a “cut” starting January 15th. If you’re curious about what a “cut” is, here’s his short explanation:
I’ve already been doing something close to the workout that he talks about. On Monday, I’ll explain some variants I think are worth pursuing. I think the lifting is flexible, but the diet part is not. If you really want it to be a cut, then lower calorie and higher protein intake are key. Working out helps build muscles but also raises your daily caloric threshold. Because I workout regularly and am fairly muscular (but also have a gut), I can safely eat 3000+ calories a day and not gain weight, I know that from experience, but also from using this calculator (see Paul’s note). However, if I don’t reduce that, I shouldn’t expect to lose weight, no matter much I work out or how much cardio I might do (or think about doing).
That being said, if you’re looking to establish some better health habits in the next few months, consider joining us. You’re not necessarily making a New Year’s resolution, you’re making a 8-12 week commitment that might help you reshape your eating and exercise habits for the long term.