When the Party Ends


Is this you?

When being asked about resolutions for the new year, one person responded with: “I don’t call them New Year resolutions . . . I prefer ‘casual promises to myself I’m under no obligation to fulfill’.”

Millions of us make new year resolutions in hopes of improving our lives in the coming year. Every single year. But all too quickly, the party ends. It all sounds great and wonderful in the month of January, but by February, our get-up-and-go-after-it has fizzled from a determined gusto to an apathetic “meh”. Passive. Indifferent. Lifeless. (At least for me.) Research shows that 80% of New Year resolutions fail by the beginning of February.[i]

The excitement, hope, and happiness of a coming new year morphs into a period of disappointing reflections or regret.

Basically, at the end of January, the party ends.

We quickly adjust the goals on our list to fit our reality.


  1. Lose weight     Buy bigger clothes
  2. Quit smoking   Smoke less
  3. Find a new job Work harder


We compromise ourselves—with ourselves—for ourselves.

This. Is. Nuts!

So, Dawn, (you may be thinking), since the party has ended already anyway, does this mean we shouldn’t do any new things or try to improve ourselves?

A resounding Of course not! It just means we’re going about setting our goals in the wrong way.

I know several folks who choose a word for the new year. Personally, I’ve never done this. (Why, I don’t know!) I think it’s time to change things up and join in what seems to be a better way to anchor intentions and unify goals in a more complete way than a laundry list of resolutions.

Care to join me?

Here are a few insights into why choosing a guiding word for the year proves to provide the stick-to-it-ness we need to obtain certain and lasting changes:


  • Simplicity. Resolutions can be difficult and overwhelming to work into our daily routines, but a single word is easy to remember. A simple word can be the guiding influence affecting the various decisions and actions in our lives.


  • Positivity. Positive words lead to positive emotions, which lead to increased well-being. We’re more likely to remain motivated throughout the process of working towards our goals when we’re focusing on a positive word.


  • Clarity. Setting goals with too many words can make them more complicated. Utilizing a single word provides focus and increases the likelihood of achievable success and ongoing motivation.


  • Less Pressure. Traditional resolutions are often made with an all-or-nothing attitude. If we falter or slip up in any way, we end up feeling like a complete failure. In contrast, a single-word resolution is more forgiving and promotes a sense of resilience. Even if you stumble at times, it’s easier to regain your focus with the simplicity of a chosen word.



There are many reasons why resolutions often fail. We typically base our goals on what WE think we need to improve, which isn’t necessarily bad, but we may not be listening for what God is calling us to work on. Our priorities are not always the same as God’s priorities.

We set ourselves up for failure when we fail to listen to God.

So, a good place to start in choosing a word for the year is to pray for God to place one word on your heart that will help focus your life according to God’s purpose for you. A word that will help drive all you do as you continue to improve yourself in God’s image.


I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you

(Psalm 32:8).


My word of the year for 2024 is Brave. Being brave by focusing on placing my faith in the courage only God can provide. When life gets tough while growing, changing, accomplishing, and failing in 2024, I will whisper my word.


When I feel chains of fear holding me back. Brave.

When I’m challenged to step out of my comfort zone. Brave.

When conversations are hard. Brave.

When circumstances demand I take action. Brave.

When I navigate rough terrain with difficult health. Brave.

When I grapple with weighty decisions. Brave.

When I want to hide when my feelings are hurt. Brave.


We are constantly being made new in Jesus Christ, and the new year upon us is a chance to start fresh with God in our lives. The party doesn’t have to end. In fact, it’s just beginning.

Pray and listen for God’s one word for you.


Dear God, may I be still and listen to your voice so you may reveal to me your desires for my life. Help me face this new year with peace and expectancy through faith. In Jesus’ name, amen.


Do you have a word for the year? Feel free to leave me a comment. I’d love to hear your word and how you chose it!

[i] https://www.forbes.com/sites/lisabodell/2022/12/19/new-years-resolutions-fail-do-this-instead

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6 thoughts on “When the Party Ends”

  1. Avatar

    I chose the word ‘light.’ I want to be LIGHT for others to show them Jesus, but I also want to quit caring some heavy things that are weighing me down, like fear, so I want to feel LIGHT as well. Not sure how well I’m doing with it. Only time will tell!

    1. Dawn Van Beck

      Glynis, this sounds like a great plan. I love the dual purpose too! Wishing you will be ‘light as a feather in 2024’ (wink wink). Godspeed!

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