We are a week into the New Year and people are already using the hashtag #resolutionfail. It happens all too often. We create lists with the things we want to do or the undesired things we want to change because this time of year is our fresh start. We leave the old behind and bring on the new!
I start off excited at the beginning of every year too because it’s a natural time to evaluate, set goals, make plans, move forward. I get out my pen and start writing down the resolutions that I may want to tackle in the New Year and then pick a few to focus on. My list often goes something like this…
Drink more water. Drink less coffee. Work out more (well, I need to start working out before I can work out more). Start working out. Eat less processed food. Eat out less. Have more date nights with the hubby. Spend more family time together. Make the bed everyday (I hear people actually do this!). Give more. Save more. Pray more. Blog more. And on, and on, and on.
But my well-intentioned list leads to failure every year (with millions of other people too!). In fact, only 8% of people are successful with their resolutions. Do you know what that means? When we make a New Year’s resolution, 92% of us have identified what we are going to fail at for the year. Yikes!
I believe it’s time to adjust the way we do resolutions. If we don’t, we will continue to fall prey to…
- Creating a list of things we feel we’re falling short in
- Adding things to the list out of guilt
- Believing our satisfaction comes from completion
So if you need to throw out your old list and start over, it’s never too late to reboot!
How to Reboot your resolutions (or any goal)
1. Pray before you plan
When we pray about what to put on our resolution list, we end up with things that are obedience-based instead of guilt-based and satisfaction-based. It takes the focus off the things we feel like we aren’t doing well (or at all) and puts the focus on the steps of obedience that we need to take. Steps that God’s calling us to, not steps that we’re calling ourselves to. The reality is that we aren’t all called to do all things at all times. What a relief! And remember that God’s heart is to satisfy your desires. “You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” (Psalm 144:16). So don’t be afraid to tell Him what you desire but also don’t be afraid to hear what He desires for you.
2. Plan out your obedience
We recently read that only 40% of all the to-do items written down actually get done. One of the core reasons is because most of them aren’t actually tasks…they’re projects. Projects like improving health, blogging more, saving money. And chances are, the steps of obedience you hear from God in prayer will also be projects and not tasks. It’s important to take the time to plan out the tasks to reach the new goals. We only focus on two or three tasks each month toward our goal so we don’t get so overwhelmed. But making a plan is saying yes to what God is calling you to right now!
3. Put it into action
Action trumps intention every time. Unfortunately, our doubts and insecurities can keep us from taking the first step toward action (this is true for me!). But when we know our plans are simple steps of obedience, we can have the confidence we need to step out in faith. The two things that are sure to help you take those first steps are deadlines and people. Deadlines help us bring the goal into the reality of our schedule and calendar. And people hold us accountable and cheer us on when we get discouraged. So write down your deadlines in your calendar, partner with a friend and get done what God is calling you to today. Because at the end of our lives God will not say to us, “Well planned out, well thought of…” but He will say, “Well DONE, good and faithful servant.”
4. Pass the grace please
We are not perfect people so we need to stop trying so hard to be perfect. The goal is progress, not perfection. G. K. Chesterton said, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly.” I may just write this on my mirror for the year! You might miss a few days or skip a few tasks…and that’s okay. Give yourself grace (and your friends too). The reality is that our resolutions have already been accomplished on the cross so we need to enjoy the journey that God has us on.
My new New Year’s resolution list only has two goals on it now…improve my health and encourage others through our blog. It’s much shorter, more focused, obedienced-based and a little scary (that’s how I know I’m going in the right direction!). And each month I plan out smaller tasks to keep me moving forward in tackling my God-given goals.
Are you ready for a resolution reboot?