Beyond the New Year’s Resolution

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By Dr. Mark Slaughter

We are now through the month of January, plenty of time for us to have kept our New Year’s resolution or, well, you know maybe let things slide just a little! Every year we face off with ourselves and a cultural phenomenon that forces us to make resolutions to be a better version of ourselves. We’ve all done this…and we’ve all failed. I would like for us to consider a new way of facing off with 2022, to see an opportunity to commit to loving ourselves with or without resolutions, goals, or impossible agendas. What if this year we deeply considered what it means to be a child of God, loved completely by our parental God? We all can get caught up in our need to do more, fulfill all the promises we make to ourselves; however, this year I want to encourage us to pause, to breathe deeply and consider all the amazing ways we are called to love ourselves. Nadia Boltz-Weber writes, “As you face the onslaught of false promises offered you through new disciplines and elimination diets, as you grasp for control of yourself and your life and this chaotic world, may you remember that there is no resolution that, if kept, will make you more worthy of love.”

Here are three ways you can live into less expectations and more into self-care and self-love:

  • Find your mantra – What message do you need to commit to memory that empowers you to care for self? You could use the phrase, “I’m enough,” “I am beloved,” or “child of God.” Speak your phrase when you find yourself spiraling into despair, not to ignore or suppress the difficult feeling, but consider an additional narrative which can provide a sense of wholeness.
  • Resist the temptation – We are all tempted to look a certain way and to be the very best version of ourselves. I’m all for investing in me, but let’s resist the temptation to invest in order to feel better about who we are…constantly trying to measure up to someone else’s expectations or even our own unrealistic expectations. Take a moment when this temptation comes to offer yourself compassion, not judgment.
  • Find your practice – Spiritual practices are one way for us to reframe unhelpful ideas, habits, and expectations. The practice of meditation clears the mind of the clutter of expectations, enabling us to be in a place of wholeness and peace. Lectio Divina focuses us on the power of God’s word, which can reorient our thinking, allowing the Spirit to speak truth into our hearts. What spiritual practices can you use to open the door to mindfulness, love, and self-acceptance?

As you live into these steps, allow the Spirit of God to motivate you to a new place of loving yourself. Take a step away from self-judgment and self-loathing and embrace a desire to bless all that is within you. There you will find sorrow, difficult feelings, along with compassion, joy, and peace.

So, let’s make a resolution this year to take deep cleansing breaths, and claim that you are completely loved by God and that you are enough! What a great opportunity to jump off the wheel of self-doubt and all those feelings that you are not enough. Let’s resolve to move along life’s journey, knowing that every day we have opportunities to engage our hearts in the practice of love and care for ourselves.


Dr. Mark Slaughter is the Minister of Worship Arts at Prince of Peace. 

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