Normally when you think of New Year’s resolutions, you think of a long list of goals in different categories. For our New Year’s Bible study, though, I’d like you to take just one of those goals and focus your renewing of the mind efforts on it.
Our goal isn’t just the goal itself, but also the process – learning how to go to God for growth, for strength, for advice, for comfort, and just to be cherished.
Because this process can be time consuming, it’s important to choose a goal you care about. One you’d really like to accomplish so you’ll be willing to put in the effort to work on it until the process itself becomes enjoyable.
Some goals are easier to reach than others. For example, I’ve found it to be much easier to break free from negative emotions such as anger or worry than from habits like procrastination and overeating. So if you feel like you’d like a project that would be a little easier, you might want to choose an emotion.
Here’s a worksheet you can use if you’re having a difficult time coming up with a goal to work on. (Click here for a printable worksheet: New Year’s Resolution Worksheet.)
Choosing a New Year’s Resolution
1. What areas of your life cause you the most stress?
2. Why do they stress you out?
3. Circle the negative emotions and attitudes you’ve struggled with lately: worry, fear. stress, grief, sadness, despair, fear of failure, fear of what people think, anger, annoyance, frustration, self-condemnation, self-pity, insecurity, perfectionism, discontentment, envy, pride, judgment, a critical spirit, anxiety, people pleasing. Which three have you been struggling with the most?
4. What habits and sins have you been struggling with lately?
5. Can you think of any good habits you’d like to develop?
6. Think of your family, friends, and others. What habits and negative emotions get in the way of loving them well?
7. Think of your relationship with God. Which of your habits and negative emotions most interfere with your relationship with Him? Are there any habits you could develop that would improve that relationship?
8. Look back over your answers to the first seven questions. If you could set three goals for the year and be guaranteed you could reach them (which is of course impossible), which goals would you choose?
9. Why would you choose those goals?
10. Which three goals do you think God would choose, and why would He choose them?
11. Look over your answers to the preceding questions and list two or three possible New Year’s resolutions you could work on this year with God’s help.
Exploring Your Options
Read over your answers to the above questions and narrow your possible projects/goals down to one or two options. For each project, answer the following questions:
1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how hard do you think it would be to tackle this project?
2. How would your life change if you were to reach this goal?
3. How would accomplishing this goal affect your relationship with God? Explain.
4. How would accomplishing this goal affect your relationship with others?
5. How would accomplishing this goal affect your testimony and/or ministry?
6. Have you decided on a goal yet? If so, what is it? State it as clearly as possible.
For More Help in Following Through with Your Resolution
Other Bible Study Resources For New Year’s Goals
Renewing of the Mind Project Since writing this post, I’ve published a book that contains this New Year’s Resolutions Worksheet and other resources to help you follow through on your resolutions. More than half of the book is filled with Bible verses and questions that will help you renew your mind and have conversations with God about your goals. You can use it by itself or as a companion to these free online studies and workshops.
Taste for Truth: A 30 Day Weight Loss Bible Study Many of us have weight loss goals this time of year as well. The Taste for Truth Bible Study is focused on the lies that make us eat, body image, and the weight loss process. I wrote this Bible study to go along with the questions and Bible verses in I Deserve a Donut, and although you can do the study without I Deserve a Donut, it’s best if you have both books.
I Deserve a Donut (And Other Lies That Make You Eat) is a renewing of the mind resource to use in the midst of temptation and also to prepare yourself for temptation. I use it all the time, just for regular life. It is filled with 36 sets of questions and over 150 Bible verses that you can use to have conversations with God about life and food. The questions and Bible verses will help you renew your mind, taking off the lies that make you eat and putting on the truth that will set you free. It’s also available as a free app.
Freedom from Emotional Eating: A Weight Loss Bible Study is an 8-week (40 lessons) Bible study that focuses on emotional eating. Although there is material on boundaries and breaking free from the control of food, most of the book is devoted to learning how to let go of negative emotions. The comment I get most often with this book is that yes, it helped me with eating, but it helped me even more with letting go of my negative emotions.