We all know the drill… you step on the scale on December 26 and think, “I’m gotta go on a diet after the first of the year”. Or you look at your bank statement and think, “It’s time to start budgeting in 2018”. Perhaps the clutter in your garage has motivated to you get more organized, or maybe you went to church and were challenged to read the whole Bible in one year.
Whatever the case may be, statistics show ¹ that half of us make some kind of New Year’s resolution(s) each year, and half of those resolutions fail in the first 30 days. Just ask your local gym about their attendance in February!
What is our problem? Are we simply that weak in our commitments or are we making the wrong kind of commitments?
If you find yourself failing at New Year’s resolutions, I would like to offer a few suggestions to help you achieve success.
1. Stop Using Platitudes and Get Practical
When Jesus was questioned by a rich influential person about inheriting eternal life, His answer was very practical.
Luke 18:22 – When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
Jesus didn’t speak in platitudes or religious ideals but told him specifically what he needed to do. As Christians, it’s important that we avoid platitudinal living. The Christian life is about being practical and specific in our motives, actions, and commitments. This should impact both our walk with God and daily life.
So, if you have a New Year’s resolution, define what that means. If you want to lose weight, how much do you want to lose? How will you do it? What steps will you take? If you want to start budgeting, what steps will you take? What program will you use? If you want to get organized, where will you start? If you want to read the whole Bible, what schedule will you use?
Get the idea?
Making a New Year’s resolution is a great start, but you must take it from a big picture thought to detailed practical steps. One of the quickest ways to fail at a New Year’s resolution is to leave it as a big picture. When you transition into a step-by-step process, your chances of success will increase dramatically.
2. Measure Your Progress (daily or weekly)
Genesis 1:31, 2:2 – God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day. … By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work.
In the creation account, God created seven days in a week for us to live and function. He did this in order to provide us a context that provides balance and health. In other words, it was God’s intention for us to operate within a daily and weekly timeframe. Therefore, it is important that when we set goals, we operate within God’s recommended timetable.
Annual goals are great, but we don’t live annually, we live daily and weekly in order to accomplish and move forward. So the key to any New Year’s resolution is to break it down into daily and weekly chunks. If you want to lose 50lbs in a year, figure out how much you need to lose on a daily/weekly basis. If you want to start budgeting, get organized, read the whole Bible, etc. figure out what that looks like on a daily/weekly basis. Annual goals are not manageable until they are reduced to daily/weekly goals. It’s critical that you convert 12 months into 52 weeks or 365 days. This will help you monitor progress and keep you on track.
3. Make it a Point of Prayer
Proverbs 16:3 – Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
Make your New Year’s resolution more than a self-commitment, make it a commitment to the Lord. He loves you and cares about every aspect of your life. So why not bring your 2018 resolution to Him and ask for strength and power to persevere? Why not ask Him to teach you lessons along the way?
As Christians, we have an amazing opportunity to seek the Lord’s help in everything we do. So make your New Year’s resolutions more than self-improvement goals, make them spiritual goals between you and the Lord. Remember, growth never happens overnight, it takes time. You will have setbacks, successes, and failures. This is all part of the Christian life! But the more you pray for God’s strength and rely on Him daily, the more successful you will be in your New Year’s resolutions.
How have you found New Year’s resolutions? Have you struggled or been successful in keeping them? You can comment here. I’d love to hear about your experiences.
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