I did a little thinking on New Year’s resolutions today, and they do not make much sense to me. Why resolve to do something that you think will better your life in some way starting at a future date? Whether what you are doing is trying to break a bad habit (smoking, drinking, overeating, procrastinating, etc.) or doing something positive (reading your Bible and praying more, saving money, becoming more disciplined, getting in shape, etc.), why not start as soon as it occurs to you to make a resolution for the upcoming year? January 1, 2010 is really not much different than December 31, 2009, or even December 10, 2009. If you have a change you want to make in your life, it is best to implement that change immediately. Waiting to make a change does not make much sense to me (with one exception, stated below.) If, for example, you want to lose weight but keep overeating until January 1, what have you accomplished? You have only made it more difficult for yourself. If you’ve waited until January 1, what is one more day? Pretty soon those “one more” days might add up… If you are going to do something, do it now.
The only reason I see to wait until January 1 to start a resolution is if the new calendar year offers some strategic advantage not available beforehand. Examples include a discount on a gym membership, daily Bible reading plans that go in order and start on January 1, or something similar. Keep in mind, however, that there are two sides to resolutions–the overarching ideas and the specific details. Waiting until January 1 because of a discount on a gym membership falls on the details side. If your resolutions are detail-specific, find the idea behind those details and implement other complementary details now that help you stay true to the idea behind the resolution.
A loophole I see to this is if you are a type of person who absolutely needs structured dates to start something and thrives on that. In that case, waiting to start resolutions until January 1 might help you. For everyone else, I suggest you start now. If your resolution is so unimportant that you can wait until January 1, why even start it then? If it will really make a difference, start immediately.