The word resolution comes directly from the word resolve. Setting goals, or resolutions, for 2015 or any other year is declaring that you are resolved to achieve that goal in that new year. As almost all of us know, New Years resolutions have become a bad joke for our general lack of commitment and follow through. Here are a few tips I would offer for how you can make your resolutions stick this year.
- Set better goals. Often, the most significant reason we don’t achieve our resolutions is because they’re actually rather weak. Or at best, they tend to be unachievable or outside our control. How do you resolve to get a promotion? Don’t get me wrong, that’s would be awesome! But other than working hard and doing your job well, you have no decision-making power to accomplish that goal. A better goal would be to accomplish the things your bosses might notice and want to promote. At the end, you’ve done all you can do, and haven’t taken responsibility for your employers’ whims.
- Focus on relationships. Spend more time with your kids. Schedule a weekly or bi-weekly date night with your spouse. Visit your grandparents, show appreciation to someone who’s always there for you, commit that you’ll say “yes” to anyone in need instantly as long as you’re available at that time – the list could go on. Nothing matters more than people. As a pastor, I’ve been with several men and women who were facing their final days (or minutes, as the case has been). Never once, have any of them pined for time to finish a project at work, getting a promotion, or going on an exotic trip. They have all, however, wished for more time with friends, family, or for another chance to heal a wounded relationship. You’ll face that moment one day too. Live this year with that reality in mind.
- Get accountability. A major reason why so few people finish that diet, P90X, or reading through the Bible in a year is that they try to go it alone. There’s strength and encouragement in numbers. As long as no one tries to get ahead of the pack, you’ll find that numbers strengthen resolve.
- Weekly evaluation. Once a week, stop and look back at your progress. Day-by-day is too small to appreciate long-term change. Month-by-month would be nice, if the average person’s commitment lasted a month! Week-by-week is enough time to see and notice progress, but small enough that it’s achievable.
- Improve yourself. Read one book a month. Eat something green every meal. Start going to church! Exercise 2-3 times a week (not everyday, I mean, come on…). Go on walks after dinner. Go to bed by 10pm. Drink more water. Pray for five minutes when you first wake up. Learn something from talking to a stranger. I could make suggestions for days, but you know your own vices and what you need to work on. Whatever you do, have at least one thing that, by the end of this year, you feel better about yourself and the person you are becoming.
- Don’t try. As the great philosopher, Yoda, once said, “Do or do not – there is no ‘try.'” Saying we’ll try something is giving ourselves permission to fail. Usually, it means we’ve already accepted failure before we’ve even begun. Which is why the average New Years resolution crumbles before Valentines Day. Stop trying this year. Start doing. You can accomplish something significant. Just do it.
In 2015, I sincerely pray that the Lord would bless and keep you – may His face shine upon you, and give you peace. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.