It’s January again, so it is time to make those New Year’s resolutions. I do realize that if I really want to make changes in my habits that I can do that any month of the year; it does not have to be at the beginning of a calendar year. But the beginning of a calendar still seems like a perfect time to form new good habits and delete bad old ones.

I also realize that many resolutions are broken before the ground hog makes his yearly debut. Most people, including me, have made and broken New Year’s resolutions in less than a month. I have done this so much that it seems futile to even attempt to make another one this year. I wonder if maybe I am going about this the wrong way. Maybe I am focusing too much on the good and bad habits themselves. Maybe, like the Galatians, I am being foolish and attempting to make changes in my life merely by human effort and disregarding the marvelous work and power of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 3:1-4). Maybe, just maybe, this whole process of resolutions would be easier if my mindset was much simpler. Maybe it could be as simple as choosing life in my every day decisions.

Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! (Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT).

I can think in terms of choosing options that add to my life. Would I feel more vibrant if I push the snooze alarm three to four times or would I feel more vibrant if I got up at my first alarm and walked a mile or two? Would oatmeal with cut up fruit give me more energy than a fast food biscuit sandwich? Taking the time to pack a lunch in the morning would not only make me feel healthier and therefore livelier but it would also help my finances to be lighter and therefore freer and fuller of life. I can choose the option that brings life in my daily decision-making. Eating healthier gives me more energy. Working out makes me feel more vibrant. Planning makes my day less stressful and therefore a bit more dynamic.

Choices that bring life are not only for daily habits but they are also for mindsets that can also be typical resolutions. Being prone to impatience, anger, being judgmental, and unforgiveness brings feelings of death because they are destructive to relationships. However, making attempts to be patient, kind, compassionate, and forgiving bring feelings of life. There is an enemy of my soul that would like nothing more than to watch me give in to the first list of deadly and prideful qualities. However, Jesus longs for me to choose the virile latter options.

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life (John 10:10 NLT).

It is really a matter of choosing life in my thinking. Usually when I give in to the bad options, it is because I am thinking very short-term. Twenty to thirty minutes of fragmented sleep feels best when I’m still tired or simply warm under the covers but I usually feel more tired after doing that, not less tired. Having an unforgiving spirit seems right in the short-term because it seems to place a Band-Aid on my wounded pride by holding out on somebody else. These short-term attitudes lead to death because they evoke regrets later on. When I think long-term, I am more likely to make those life-filled decisions even when I have to swallow my pride in order to do it.

A life-sustaining frame of mind allows the Holy Spirit to intervene and I am more likely to obey and respond with the positive fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and, yes, even self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Isn’t self-control the main thing that I need in order to start good habits and quit bad ones?