Have you broken your New Year's resolutions yet?
I'm admittedly cynical about making lists of goals because I've seen so many people try this and fail. Year after year, I see my gym fill to capacity during the first week of January, then empty out before the end of the month. I've noticed the same pattern at my church. There are plenty of people who attend a service or two, and they seem enthusiastic to get closer to God and develop relationships with other Christians. Yet they don't come back.
I used to think people—including me—broke resolutions because we weren't truly committed to our goals. Then I noticed that I've often failed at things I deeply wanted to achieve. For instance, I've long held the goal of spending quality, daily time with God. While my devotional time is sometimes wonderful, warm, and intimate, there are many days when my mind wanders. My prayers are interrupted by thoughts such as, We're out of milk—need to buy some today …. And what are we having for dinner? … Ugh, do I have any clean underpants to wear to the grocery store? I end up repeatedly apologizing to God for the lack of quality in our time together.', 'Setting spiritual goals can be tremendously frustrating. I often hear Christian friends express defeat: "How can I be like Jesus when I'm so not like Jesus?" "How am I supposed to love my enemies when I don't even love my best friends consistently?" "Love AND joy, peace AND patience? As if. My best day is one I can get through without having a bad attitude!"1