Ok… we’re now 8 days into the New Year. For most of us, the decorations of the season are packed up for another year, our regular work and school schedules have resumed, and life has returned to some semblance of “normal.”
So how are those New Year’s resolutions working out for you?
Some studies show that almost 90% of people that make resolutions fail to keep them, with over 20% of resolutions being broken within the first week. So what do you do when you made a resolution in the spirit of the season, and now it seems impossible to keep? How do you deal with the broken promises of a year so new that you are still having to white-out all of the times you habitually write “2014” on correspondence and checks?
Here are three simple things to remember when it comes to dealing with those well-intended — yet possibly already-broken — resolutions…
Realize what is at stake.
While some resolutions are made for our personal betterment (lose weight, stop smoking, etc.), and some resolutions affect those around us and our relationships (spend more time with your kids, be a better friend), still others have an impact on our relationship with our Heavenly Father (read the Bible more, spend more time in prayer, give up “hidden sins”). Regardless of where your resolutions fall, it is important to realize what the consequences are of not keeping them. I say this not as a way of encouraging you to beat yourself up for broken promises, but simply to get honest about your own situation.
A friend of mine had a heart-attack a couple of years ago. He has spent the last couple of years working out regularly and getting healthy. He says, “People think I love working out. I hate it! However, I hate being dead more.” The decision to live healthier (lose weight, stop smoking, exercise more) will only contribute to your well-being in a positive way. Giving up unhealthy habits can help you live longer, and operate in a better frame of mind. Decisions such as better money or time management can go a long way to giving you more peace of mind…
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
~ 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Spending more time with family and friends, being a better co-worker, helping others more, or volunteering more of our time to charitable endeavors can strengthen those relationships, as well as personally give us more of a positive outlook on life, and contribute to our own well-being…
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
NO time spent drawing closer to the Father is wasted time. Spending time in His Word, in prayer and meditation, and in worship only serve to create a lifestyle of abiding in His presence. Giving up secret sins such as lust, greed, and dishonesty, etc. should not be just “insignificant resolutions” — they are imperative for living the Spirit-filled life. Remember, the concept of sowing and reaping has both positive and negative connotations…
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. ~ Galatians 6:7-8
Stop making excuses.
Anything worth doing requires some degree of sacrifice. Stop looking for a way to avoid the unpleasantness of the process, suck it up, and get about the business of walking the narrow path that is going to move you forward as a person to a better place. The path of least-resistance is probably the path that got you where you are now — looking for (and needing) change.
Maybe you made your resolution in the midst of the euphoria of New Years?
If it is a resolution worth keeping, it doesn’t really matter why you made it. YOU DID! Now it’s time to show what you’re made of, Who you trust, and stick to it.
Remember: Failure isn’t final.
Most resolutions — like life itself — are a process. If you made a resolution to lose weight, gaining a pound or two on the Fourth of July weekend is not the end of the world. The year isn’t over, and you still have 5 months to lose what you gained and more. If you were going to spend more time with your family, but work is already demanding more of your time than you anticipated, start now managing your time and resources to stop the cycle, and keep your promise. Too many people stumble in their goal for the perfect “resolution record”, and throw up their hands in defeat the first time they trip along the way. Stop looking at the stumbling blocks, and start looking at the finish line. Set a goal, and keep your eyes on it, not the moments of weakness along the journey.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. ~ 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Trust in your Heavenly Father, and start NOW in making this year’s resolutions a success. Have faith in the One who “began the good work in you.”