You knew it was coming.
Several posts and comments I've heard about New Year's resolutions have circled around the fact that they never seem to be followed - at least not long enough to have a real effect in your life. (If I got the wrong word, please forgive me, just this once. If I got it right, feel free to let me know!) Most of these have focused on the proof of this by the example of a supremely crowded public gym or workout facility in January, which inevitably falls off to those "regulars" (who have been there since the year(s) before) by mid-February.
So, what's the point? We all make promises about how we'll change, how we'll improve; and it's usually very specific. My cousin has a great thought, though - it's still an aim at a lifestyle update, but it's a bit broader in its outlook. You plan to improve, but you don't put a nail in a specific outcome. Instead of "I will lose 10 pounds this year," you plan to eat healthier, park further from the building, walk more. Instead of "I will read my Bible for an hour every morning before I make breakfast, and pray for an hour before I go to bed at night," you plan to work on your relationship with God, simply getting to know Him better so you can follow Him more closely. The outcome is likely to exceed what you would have placed on yourself in some way (over the course of the entire year). I find, when I choose those kinds of specific goals, I focus too much on them, and often cause myself to fail - even if it's not that hard of a goal to reach. And sometimes, my goals are just plain unrealistic for me at this point.
Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't fix specific goals, or monitor the changes, or take on challenges. But I think often times (especially around January 1st) we get focused on that mountain peak we want to aim for, and we get over-focused. Then, when we experience the smallest set-back or slip-up, we throw out the whole thing, 'cuz we know we "just can't do it." My problem (and I suspect there are others like me) is that I don't just throw in the towel. I throw it in, and then I go to work viciously undoing all the good I may have done so far.
So, this year, I encourage us to aim for something huge. Make tracks. See the change. Make a map, a record for yourself so you can see how far you've come. But don't get overzealous thinking you know what's coming or where you'll get to in the end. Don't spend too much time looking back. Always look forward, toward the goal. Glance back only to help you see how to avoid a stumble in the future. Keep moving forward.