Why I’m Giving Up on New Year’s Resolutions


Do you ever feel paralyzed by fear that you will fail? I do, and apparently so do my (usually confident) kids.

One night as I put my boys to bed, a blizzard was raging outside. They have a bad habit of jumping on beds, playing with toys, and tormenting each other when the lights go off.

So with a grave tone, I warned them to stay in bed. I pointed out that if they were messing around and hurt themselves it’d be hard to get to the hospital in the blizzard.

My oldest son surprised me when he teared up and said, “Mom, I’m always getting out of bed. I don’t know if I can stop myself. What if I get out of bed again, and then I get hurt, and we can’t make it to the hospital?”

I assured him, “Honey, it’s not that hard. Just stay in bed, and you will be fine.”

“But I don’t know if I can!” he cried.

Pretty soon his little brother was in hysterics. When I asked what was wrong, he sobbed, “Mom I don’t think I can make good choices!”

Their reaction was so bizarre that I had to stop myself from laughing. How hard could it be to stay in their bed? Why were they so worried they’d make the wrong choices?

But as I reassured them, I started to get it.

This time of year, I think a lot of us are feeling the weight of trying to make good choices.

We had a lot of ambition when we made those New Year’s Resolutions, but now reality is starting to hit. It’s so hard to follow through with commitments to exercise when the weather is frigid and dreary or eat better in the season of sad-looking produce. We just aren’t sure we can make the right decisions, and we start to feel defeated.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s another option when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, and women all over the world are choosing it.

You see, the problem with New Year’s resolutions is that they are all wrapped around expectations and fear of failure.

And every year, when our resolve runs out and we fail, we start to feel more and more defeated. Maybe we can’t do this. Maybe we can never change.

But what if we tried a different approach? What if we joined other women who are tossing their resolutions aside and instead choosing one word?

One word that God puts on their heart. One word that summarizes how they hope to grow in their life that year.

One word that gives focus, but doesn’t have so much fear of failure attached to it.

This year, as I thought about what my one word might be, my mind went to “trust.” After all, I’d been feeling God call me to trust Him more lately. So my word must be trust, right?

So I tried it out. For a whole week, trust was my word. But, in the end, I found that I spent much of my time afraid I would fail to trust. Like my bed-bouncing boys, I was afraid I’d make the wrong choices.

That’s when I felt the word “joy” spring up everywhere – I saw “joy in the Gospel” on my calendar. Every time I picked up a Bible, the verses seemed to talk about joy or rejoicing.

Not to mention the more I thought about joy, the more I found myself laughing and feeling lighthearted.

And it made sense to me, because joy is how I feel when I remember to fully trust God. And the more joy I feel, the more I tend to fully trust God.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

So this year, my word is joy.

How about you? What’s your word? Did you try it on before you chose it? If this is the first time you’ve heard of the #oneword movement, what do you think of it?

I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comments below! If you don’t feel like commenting, consider just leaving the word you chose for this year.

Let’s become e-mail friends!

And as a way to celebrate,
I’ll give you one of my
eBooks for FREE!

Just type your first name
and your e-mail below
then click “submit.”

We respect your email privacy

This post is linked up with my friends at Good Morning Mondays, Inspire Me Monday, Purposeful Faith, Testimony Tuesday, The Loft, Coffee for Your Heart, Beloved Brews, Tell His Story, Five Minute Friday, and Friendship Friday!


Related Post

31 thoughts on “Why I’m Giving Up on New Year’s Resolutions

  1. My word for 2015 is “Encouragement”. The Holy Spirit brought this word to me over and over, during the last weeks of December. I felt the need for encouragment last year, and I realized many people need encouragment. I am finding that as I focus on encouraging others, I feel encouraged. I think this is going to be a fun year. Jenni, “Joy” is a great pick! You will have a great year focusing on joy. I have been choosing a word for several years now, and I find it to be fun and exciting, yes even joyful. I encourage other people to try it instead of New Year’s resolutions.

  2. Oh that is neat! Yes encouraging others is such a great way to feel encouraged. I know I feel encouraged by your promise to pray for our family. And I love that the Holy Spirit brought your word to you over and over. Isn’t He persistent?! Love it!

  3. Love doing one-word instead of making a bunch of resolutions I’ll fall short on anyway. This is my third year doing it and it’s been such a great lens to view the year through and to help chart a steady course on God’s path. This year my word in STEP, after last year’s LAUNCH. God is calling me to something new and this year is sure to be one of many steps in faith, trust and obedience.

  4. My one word is Presence! I love your word as we could all use a little more joy in our lives, right? I had to pray over mine for a while…thought I had a word and then God changed it. I want to soak in more of His presence this year. Thanks for linking up at Testimony Tuesday, Jenni!

  5. I don’t a one word for the new year… Not that I have anything against it, I think there is a season for everything! I just personally want to wake up every day with the mercies of God being new and fresh for me, and follow Him in what ever way He is leading… I think we can all completely relate to being afaid to make the solid choices that God is leading us to make… another reason I depend on His grace and mercy every day! Great post! love your blog! 🙂 Blessings to you! #raralinkup

  6. Jenni, I think you and I “get each other”, considering what my post was today! ha! I am glad you are embracing this word. I truly wish you the deepest joy this year. Thanks for encouraging us today. Much love to you!

  7. Hello #RaRaLinkup neighbor! Jenni, this post was a blessing to me. My 2015 word is ‘RENEW’, and yes, the Lord and I mulled this one over for weeks. He gave it to me; I didn’t choose it. It holds promise after a very rough 2014, and I am eager to see what things He renews this year. So nice to meet you! Grace and peace.

  8. What a neat word to choose – step! It has action written all over it. I’ll be praying and cheering you on as you step out in faith, trust, and obedience this year. Thanks for your comments!

  9. Well I’m glad I’m not the only one who had to try her word out before I could hear God guiding me more clearly! Thanks for visiting Genuflected and for your ongoing encouragement as you provide Christian women a chance to connect at #TestimonyTuesdays. God bless you, Holly!

  10. You paint a beautiful picture — waking up fresh and following God where He leads you. If I could learn to do that on a daily basis, I think my life would be more simple. Thanks for visiting, Danise!

  11. Kelly, when I saw your post I laughed out loud! We are definitely on the same wave length, sister! Thanks for visiting and for offering us the opportunity to connect with other Christian women at the #RaRaLinkup!

  12. Renew – that is such a word of hope! After a rough year, there’s nothing better than being renewed with Jesus. Praying God blesses you this year, Leah!

  13. Stopping by from #raralinkup. Your story about the boys was hilarious. I have 3 kiddos, two are boys, and I can totally relate. It’s funny, too, that a I wrote today about my #oneword. 🙂 Seems to be a common thread.
    Enjoyed your post and look forward to reading more. God bless, Renee.

  14. I so agree about new years resolutions, they leave you feeling deflated. I have set goals for the year, manageable ones at that. Thanks for sharing this great post at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

  15. Beautiful post with such a great tie-in to your story about your boys! My one-word for this year is “receive” because I have long been one who tries to achieve grace. This year I want to rest as a receiver instead. Glad to connect with you this morning through Coffee for Your Heart.

  16. I love this post and hearing about your one word for the year inspires me! I haven’t ever chosen a word, but after reading so many posts about it, I just might have to 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement.

  17. I love your word! My word is ‘deeper’–and it took me over a year to accept the challenge. I’m slow sometimes ;). I noticed in your bio that you’re a caregiver mommy! My blogging partner writes a lot about her experiences as a caregiver to a son with ALL. I’d bet that the two of you have a lot of experiences in common. I hope that all is going well with his treatment protocol. May God grant you the peace, patience and especially JOY you need for this season of your life.

  18. I love how your boys were the inspiration for this post, and more importantly that their actions helped their mama think! 🙂 I love your word, joy is one of the most abundant blessings that we can receive from the Lord, outside of Grace, if you ask me. Watch out, before you know it, you’ll be spreading joy everywhere. Thanks for the encouragement. (My word this year is purpose!)

  19. Oh I love this! Can relate to the boys so much. My word this year is strategic. Making the most of my time and not living so haphazardly.

  20. Renee, I could really relate to your post, and it definitely has me thinking about time and how I’m spending it! Thanks for visiting Genuflected. Aren’t kids the best (most hilarious) teachers sometimes?!

  21. I can relate to that! It’s easy for me to slip into the achieve-to-receive mentality, which, of course, is not at all what God’s grace is about. Thank you for stopping by Genuflected. Blessings in your year of receiving!

  22. It does seem like a neat way to stay focused without feeling discouraged, doesn’t it?! Have fun listening to God as you decide on a word for the year! Thanks for stopping by Genuflected.

  23. Anita, I read your bio as well as Carol’s, and wow do I feel like I can relate to both of you! ALL is the type of leukemia that Cooper is fighting, so I’m sure that Carol and I have gone down very similar treatment roads with our boys. I’m excited to find you and make this connection. There is so much strength to be gained from leaning on each other, especially other people who get what you are going through. Thank you for stopping by Genuflected!

  24. Hi Jenni,
    Your story about your boys is so funny! But you’re right about too much effort and pressure for New Year’s resolutions and choosing one word can be more freeing. I wasn’t sure I’d have a word this year but eventually felt like renew is my word. For many reasons, I feel like this is the right fit. Joy, however, is a lovely choice!

  25. Yes, joy is such a gift of our faith! What fun to feel it soaking in and filling our lives, especially when it is replacing the anxiety. Thanks for stopping by Genuflected, Nicki!

  26. Strategic – what a great word (and something I am not naturally good at)! I’ve been reading Lysa’s book The Best Yes, and it’s really got me thinking about how I use my time. I keep telling myself, “Every yes to something means no to something else.” It’s good to be aware. Thanks for stopping by Genuflected, Melody!

  27. Renew – that paints a beautiful picture for the new year! I didn’t pick a word for last year. But if I had to choose, in hindsight I would say “renew” would be my word. It is wonderfully refreshing to renew our lives with Christ! Thanks for stopping by Genuflected, Valerie!

  28. My word this year is “authenticity”. I struggle, a lot, with fulfilling the expectations of others and society, but I feel like this year God is calling me to let go of that and focus on being the me he created me to be. And the funny thing about this post is that a friend and I were talking about this exact thing a couple of days before New Year’s (her word is balance) and I even posted about it on Facebook. I had no idea that there was a whole movement going on!! Talk about Holy Timing!! Thanks for sharing Jenni!!!

  29. Hi Jenni! I saw you visited my blog (maybe from Kelly Balarie’s linkup?) And I’m so glad I stopped by here today. Joy is my life word, actually, that scripture on your graphic is my all-time favorite. So I knew I’d come to the right place. Love your story about your boys.

    My word is “Rest.” Repentance, Rest, Quietness, and Trust from that Isaiah verse.

Comments are closed.