I have a love-hate relationship with resolutions. On one hand, I’m goal-oriented and enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes from performing well. Add to that my belief that, if God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3.22-23), they must be amazingly new on January 1 (especially a January 1 that falls on a Sunday!), and I could be the poster child for making resolution spreadsheets.
But I don’t like to fail…and I have a history of being unable to maintain consistency in areas of my life I’d really like to change. So I actually approach resolutions with trepidation – thrilled with the prospect but reluctant to (once again) be among the “resolution casualties” that litter our emotional streets by the third week of January.
So, what’s a girl to do?
First, I must realize that, of course, there’s really nothing magical about January 1. In fact, it’s not even the “new year” for many people (i.e., the Chinese celebrate New Year at the end of January and Jewish folks mark the occasion in September). If starting fresh on January 1 is motivational, I should take advantage. But I also need to remember that, really, any day is a good day to initiate personal growth.
Second, I must be realistic. I recently read a blog post by author TJ Addington advocating that, at most, we consider just one change at a time in each of the four major spheres of life: personal, spiritual, professional, and family. That’s a good idea, but one I can simplify further: Why not tackle just one change, period, on January 1? Then address other areas later in the year, perhaps on a quarterly basis.
Third, I must be specific. It’s not enough to say, “I want to scold my kids less,” or “I want to study the Bible more.” Something that nebulous puts anyone on a surefire route to failure. Instead, I must make a plan by which to accomplish the big goal in a realistic timeframe and then set sub-goals to mark my progress. It also helps to get the plan onto paper or screen to review on a regular basis…and to ask for accountability.
I do know that I want to initiate a positive change on January 1. And I know the one sphere of life with which I’ll begin. [And] now, even though the clock is ticking, I’ve got a few [hours] to draft the plan so I’ll be ready to start working on the first.
What about you?