Everyone knows that New Year’s resolutions don’t work.
Marketers count on it. In December and January they sell us on all sorts of products, programs, and offers that they claim will transform our lives in the year ahead. They promise us fitter bodies, sharper minds, and warmer hearts.
Despite what we know about New Year’s resolutions, we fall for it every time. The possibility that this year might finally be the one we kick smoking, lose weight, or complete that degree is just too tantalizing to ignore. We want these things. So every year millions of people pursue their dreams in the form of resolutions that we know almost certainly won’t be fulfilled.
Why do we almost always fail at creating the future that our hearts tell us is possible? Why is it that the vast majority of New Year’s resolutions fail every year? If these resolutions represent our deepest hopes and aspirations for our lives, what does it say about us that we almost never achieve them?
Writer and artist Austin Kleon suggests an answer:
“Lots of people want to be the noun without doing the verb. They want the job title without the work.”
This rings true as a reason that our New Year’s resolutions so often go unfulfilled. Almost everybody would like to be in shape, but few want to exercise. We’d all like to be financially secure, but most of us don’t want to reign in our spending. Millions of us want to be good Christians, but actually following Jesus and obeying him in our daily lives is another question altogether.
We want to be the noun without doing the verb.
This year, rather than dreaming about what kind of person you’d like to be (noun), what if instead you dedicated yourself to the more challenging tasks of loving the work that you are called to do (verb)? Rather than becoming a writer, what if you wrote? Instead of trying to fit the mold of being a Christian, what if you simply embraced the daily joy (and pain) of following Jesus?
This year, stop dreaming. Do the thing.