It's the first day of the new year and as usual there is talk everywhere of New Years Resolutions. For most of my life, I haven't been big on them. Mostly because I haven't done very well at keeping them in the past. The same seems to be true for many people I talk to.
Resolutions seems to be a word with negative connotations. Often speaking of something we make with good intentions, but fail to keep. And that can be depressing.
But what if you could make resolutions that you actually keep this year?
Resolutions you would realize you kept for 12 months when we get to the end of 2013.
It's possible. There are things you can do to make keeping your New Years Resolutions possible.
I usually call them goals, not resolutions. But they really could be called resolutions. And by doing what I'm going to share, I do often keep them.
1. Be realistic
You can't make drastic changes in a short period of time it's probably not going to work. You have to make changes in small increments. If it's manageable, you have a much better chance of being able to keep it.
If you want get in better shape, you can't go from nothing to hours every week at the gym. You need to set goals that are more realistic than that. Start with something shorter and consistent. Then increase it over time.
The same principle is true of anything you want to change.
2. Make them measurable
You have to be specific. Just saying you are going to do something more or less isn't enough. Set specifics for how many times a week and how long.
For example, if you want to memorize Scripture this year. Choose a specific number of verses you want to memorize and how often you want to start memorizing a new verse. Such as memorizing one verse every two weeks. It makes it easier to stick to it.
3. Set up accountability
If someone else knows about it, you're more likely to keep it. Tell a few people who are close to you and ask them to ask you how it's going on a regular basis. Knowing someone else is going to ask you about it, can motivate you to keep going, or to start again when life seems to get in the way.
This one is the most important. Pray about them before you make them. Pray while you're living them out.
Some changes we want or need to make in our lives aren't ones we can do completely in our own strength. We need God's help. So we need to pray about them.
The most important lesson I've learned about making and keeping New Years Resolutions in that you must be flexible. Sometimes we make a resolution that seems right and good in January, might not be right and good in July.
We have to be willing to allow them to change with how life changes. If something changes in our lives that requires one of our resolutions to be altered, it doesn't mean we've failed to keep them. It just means we need to alter them a bit to fit our life circumstances better.