The Peril of One of the Most Common New Year’s Resolution

“I will lose weight this year.”

Losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. Losing weight is a good resolution. Losing weight improves health. Losing weight increases vitality. Studies show losing weight even helps you financially. Numerous reasons support the value of losing weight as a good resolution. It is no wonder why people resolve to lose weight.

There is a problem though. So many people start out with good intentions. They try hard. They really do. They stop eating sweets. They quit going to fast-food restaurants. They start eating salads (lots of salads). They take up walking. Some start counting calories. Some count points. They try. They give it their best shot.

Unfortunately, losing weight is one of the most common resolutions never kept. People never see it through. They lose their resolve. They lose their resolve because no matter what they try, nothing seems to work.

They grow tired of being hungry all the time. They hate pulling out their calorie or point book every time they even think about food, no matter how much their bodies are screaming for fuel. The miles on their shoes outnumber the miles on their car, but the scales don’t seem to show it. So, like the many years before and the countless resolutions broken, they throw in the towel. Not this year, maybe next.


Why could they not have the health they wanted? Why didn’t it work?

Most research shows that most people give up the idea of losing weight because they never really knew how to lose weight in the first place. Oh, they tried everything they ever heard or come up with in their own mind. But honestly know how to lose weight? They didn’t have a clue.

It’s amazing what people believe about losing weight. For example:

“I just ate one meal a day.” This meal they usually eat at night. No health expert would advise this approach. It is by the way one of the most common approaches to losing weight, not because it works, but because in their minds it makes sense.

“I walked every morning.” This same person however doesn’t change their diet. They think that if they just walk the pounds will fall off.  Unless they are walking mega-miles, not going to work.

“I don’t eat carbs.” This approach can produce healthy aspects, but not eating carbs without an active lifestyle isn’t going to make you healthy. In fact, if you do exercise, you need to eat some carbs.

What’s the point?

The point is many people with good intentions don’t know how to lose weight, at least not in healthy approaches. They are just winging it.

Here are some better approaches a person might take:

  • Hire a fitness and nutrition coach.
  • Join a proven program in your community.
  • Participate in a professional on-line weight loss program.
  • Talk with someone who has done it and ask them to help you reach your goal.
  • At a minimum, read a book that has a proven plan for you to follow and then follow the plan! If you don’t follow the plan, then you can’t say the plan didn’t work.  
500 Words Later

Okay, 500 words later, what does this have to do with having the faith you want? Follow the cycle.

Many people make the resolution that this year they are going to grow in their faith. They start out great. Well-intentioned, they start implementing all these great spiritual disciplines and practices. They try hard. They really do.

But then life happens. They get busy. They get distracted. They grow weary of getting up every morning at 5:30 a.m. to do their study. They get tired of going to Bible study and small groups two and three times a week. They thought they could sing in choir, teach youth group, work in the soup-kitchen, and host a house prayer group, but it was a lot harder than they thought. Rather than growing in their faith, they have grown weary of their faith. They are more tired now than when they weren’t growing in their faith.


Why did they give up on their faith resolution? Why didn’t what they were doing work?

The reason many people fail to grow in their faith is that they don’t know how to grow in their faith in the first place. They think they know. They have heard preachers and teachers and a whole bunch of other people talk about everything they tried. The problem is they went about it in the wrong way.

Here is what many people say:

"I read my Bible every day." Reading the bible isn’t all there is to growing in faith. It is helpful, but only if applied appropriately.

"I went to small groups." Attending a small group might not be what you need. They can be good. But if they are not providing what you need, they may be doing more harm than good.

"I was doing all these things" (choir, prayer group, committee meeting, small group, house prayer, feeding the hungry, and they go on and on and on). More is not always better. Sometimes more can do more damage than good.

Here are some better suggestions:

  • The very first thing you should do is talk with your pastor. Get your pastor on board with your goal. If you don’t favor your pastor, then find another pastor or Christian spiritual director/coach that can guide you. A good pastor or coach will help you assess your life to determine what is and what is not realistic for you.
  • Join a proven program in your faith community. I think about groups such as Cursillo and Walk to Emmaus.
  • Participate in an on-line discipleship program where you can network with others.
  • Talk with someone in your church who has done it and ask them to help you reach your goal.
  • At a minimum, read a book that has a proven plan for you to follow and then follow the plan! Yes, many of them exists in the Christian world.

The point is don’t go at faith growth on your own. Since the days of Jesus, Christianity has always been about discipleship. Discipleship entails a student and a teacher. Yes, Jesus is the great teacher. But the Apostles taught the first disciples in Acts. Paul taught Timothy and Titus. Mark and Barnabas were mentored by Peter and Paul. Even amongst the monastics that went off into the desert alone. They always had a teacher that taught them before going. When they returned, they debriefed with their teacher.

There are simply too many resources available today for you to wing your faith aspirations. Use those resources. Rely upon those who have more experience than you. Good teachers and guides are always happy to help others who want to grow spiritually.


The reason many people fail in having the faith they want is they just don’t know how to grow in their faith. This is not a critical statement. It is a factual statement. What can be done about it? Don’t try to wing your way through faith. You don’t have to make it up as you go. Use the people and resources available to help you know how to grow spiritually.  


Toby Lofton

Pastor, Teacher, Author.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}