Hate New Year’s Resolutions? Here’s a Replacement Idea.


Fellow travellers,

Happy New Year! I’ve been finding it hard to write consistently for a while, but did want to share a variation on New Year’s Resolutions I’ve been trying to do personally for a while. It’s been helpful to me, and might be to you. I’m sure there’s already a book out there with a similar idea, but here’s mine, starting with some background:

A while back I realized two problems I had with New Year’s resolutions: 1) I get frustrated by failing at them, and 2) they aren’t permanent. So they go nowhere.

About the same time I realized similar things about giving up something for Lent, a roughly 40-day period.

So what if, instead of making temporary changes at New Year’s or Lent, a person could make smaller, but permanent changes every 40 days? In any year, there are about 40 times 9 days. What if, even if they failed at half (or more) of the changes, the successful ones still added up to a massive shift in habits over a multi-year period or even a lifetime? They don’t need to be “spiritual” or major, they just need to be something you think will make your life better, permanently.

For example, in 2021 these were some of my attempted changes:

1/1/21 – Drink at least 32 oz of water a day
5/1/21 – Blog regularly, and
8/29/21 – Open a devotional before checking my phone in the morning.

There were more – some I failed at and some I’ll keep private, but they are significant enough to have a cumulative effect without being too hard to keep them all.

Are there small things you are doing that are harmful to you? Are there small changes you can make to improve your life? Can each of us build a better “Life Liturgy”** over time, step by step? The idea is to accumulate victories in small battles, and over time to better love God, yourself, and others. Keep a record of what you’re changing. In years, hopefully the cumulative change is emormous.

I keep a list of the 40-day periods each year and the change I want to make. Sometimes I do nothing until later – I don’t criticize myself for missing a deadline or going back on something.

My “Life Liturgy” change for 1/1/22 is to keep Facebook off my phone. The next date is 2/10/22, and I have a couple of things under consideration for then.

What do you think, and what do you have planned for 2022?

** I had called this “Eternal Lent” for myself, but ended up liking the Liturgy concept better.

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