Archives For resolutions

Why Resolutions Fail

Erik Cooper —  January 12, 2011 — 1 Comment

Let’s face it, most of our New Year’s resolutions have the staying power of a Pauly Shore movie.  Some of us have already quit. The rest of us are seriously thinking about it. Stats say only 8% will survive.

The noble promises of painting something new and beautiful on the blank canvas of a New Year make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but they’re rarely matched by a true inward transformation. So they shrivel and die on the guilt-ridden pile of unsustainability (usually around January 30).  Maybe next year.

If we made socially honest New Year’s resolutions, the list would probably look something like this:

In 2011 I resolve to…

  1. Buy Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace book and put it on my coffee table
  2. Attach the LA Fitness membership card to my keychain (and show it for free chick-fil-a sandwiches on Wednesdays!)
  3. Fan more socially conscious Facebook pages (social networking has made it so easy to seem like I care)
  4. Retweet more spiritually sounding Twitter follows (Rick Warren is a solid retweet. So is Mark Batterson.)
  5. Write “stop drinking so much” on the pages of my personal journal
  6. Fill out all the columns on my online budget form (and maybe next year I’ll even find the resolve to implement it)
  7. Write more endearing, vulnerable blog posts about helping my wife more with the laundry

Let’s face it, we love the outward overture. The declaration. The noble desire. The appearance of change.

Rarely are we willing to pay the cost that leads to true transformation.

In Matthew 3, John the Baptist had a few strong words for some people who thought noble overtures trumped transformational reality:

“Brood of snakes! What do you think you’re doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to make any difference? It’s your life that must change, not your skin!” -Mat. 3:7-8 MSG

It’s your life that must change, not your skin.

Yet we continue to sprinkle little droplets of resolutions on the surface, expecting them to clean up messes that are hidden deep down inside. It just doesn’t work.

Beyond simple behavior change resolutions, what needs to be transformed at the core of your life in 2011?  That’s the only kind of change that has any kind of staying power.  And here’s the bonus: If you’re willing, Jesus is just waiting to do the work in you.

“[Jesus] will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out.” – Matthew 3:11 MSG

And that’s a change that will last past next Tuesday.

2011: Start Here

Erik Cooper —  January 3, 2011 — 1 Comment

The only present my daughter wanted for Christmas was cash.  Nothing like an eleven year old dealing in greenbacks like she’s a pre-teen Warren Buffet.  But my in-laws obliged.


Underneath festive paper and bows, the stoic face of Ulysses S. Grant was encased in this:

The Money Maze.

Successfully route the metal marble through the plastic pathway and the box magically opens, releasing your cash.  The only problem?  This was no easy puzzle to solve.

You could masterfully work the marble through multiple sides of the cube, only to find out you started down the wrong passage.  Dead end. Begin again.  The proper destination could only be achieved with the proper start (or with a hammer, but that’s another analogy for another day).

A New Year isn’t all that dissimilar.

Eat healthier.

Read more.


Improve relationships.

Launch a business.

All these “resolutions” are paths we choose.  “Puzzles” we try to solve.  Most will meet an early demise (nearly half by the end of January, and 92% by year end according to statistics).  Is it simply because we choose the wrong starting point?

Check out these words from one of one of history’s wisest men:

“Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God…”
-Proverbs 1:7 MSG

Where did your 2011 journey start? It’s only January 3. Not too late to make sure the path you’ve chosen is heading towards something other than another dead end.