Real Life Mama: How are your New Year’s resolutions going?

Well, we are almost halfway through January now, so I can’t help but wonder how those New Year resolutions are going for everyone. Almost two work weeks in, have you hit the gym as promised, packed your lunch with healthy foods every day, or opened that Bible every morning and read?

Have you fallen off a day here which led to a day there? Or have you just completely said, “never mind” and went back to your old ways and habits already? Did you even start?

January 1st, 2024 was supposed to be one year sober for me. I was going to start last year on January 1st. That was my resolution. Do you know how long I lasted without a drink? Not even a day – I don’t remember exactly what came up that day, but something worth drinking about. And so I drank.

Which meant on January 2nd, 2023, I had already ruined my entire year and resolution to be sober. I was so mad at myself. I remember actually contemplating just waiting until 2024 to start giving up alcohol. After all, I had already failed. There was no point in it now — I was off the wagon. Why even try?

So, I drank again.

And I could have lived in that failure for all of 2023 – for a whole entire year. But I knew I didn’t want to be where I was with alcohol anymore. Ugh, but it wasn’t on the first. How would I feel on January 1st, 2024, knowing that I didn’t do all of 2023 without a drink? That I didn’t truly keep my 2023 full year resolution?

It didn’t matter anymore. I was out of excuses – I was longing for a change. I reminded myself that January 1st was just another day on the calendar. And two weeks later, on January 15, 2023, I had my last drink.

I didn’t start on the first – in fact I didn’t change anything for the first two weeks of January at all – and yet, when January 1, 2024, came around, I was not at all upset that I was not at one year sober. Instead, I was ecstatic that I was at 350 days without a drink and knocking on the door of one year alcohol-free.

One of the biggest things I have fully wrapped my heart and mind around during this journey has been grace — especially giving MYSELF grace. I mean, my track record for quitting drinking — even though I had wanted to for years – was, well, the worst. I had never actually done it – so I didn’t believe I could – or that I was even good enough to do it. I would probably just fail like I had every other time.

Ah, but then stepped in the greatest teacher of grace of all time — Jesus.

All my mess-ups, all my failures, all my past — already forgiven – by Jesus. My “I am not good enough,” or “I can’t do this,” already been proven wrong by a man who died on a cross for me to show me my worth.

And all my worries – my fears of slipping up – He quiets those too. Because even if I do happen to fall down, He will be right there to pick me back up. I wouldn’t have to wait until a certain day on the calendar hits, He would just carry me through again. Don’t get me wrong, I fully intend on keeping my sobriety. But it is a real fear – failing. Again.

But I can’t stay there – in what I did in the past or didn’t change sooner or could fail in the future. Instead, I keep Jesus and His grace right here next to me in the present and push forward.

And guys, I don’t know what your thing is – what you have been longing to live without, or what routine you have been wanting to start or maybe what you have been dying to change to improve your life. But I do know this: if you think you have already failed, you haven’t; if you haven’t even tried yet, you still can.

Yes, we are already a few weeks into the new year – but we also are on the very first day of the rest of our lives. We aren’t perfect people – we were never meant to be. That is completely and utterly why we have Jesus.

So whatever it is that you resolve to do and whenever you plan on doing it — today, tomorrow, next week or next year – I pray that you can pick up Jesus and all the grace that comes with Him – and just do it.

January 16th, 2024 — one year empty of booze and one year full of Jesus.

Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her daughters and writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.