I had a few quick thoughts regarding resolutions of the New Year.
First of all, you will not keep them perfectly.
Secondly, if you make too many of them, you will end up feeling like a failure.
Third, if you go too big, you will get discouraged and stop trying.
When you think about making New Year’s resolutions, think “routine.” And when you think routine, think manageable. Small steps are best if you hope to sustain any new practice.
Don’t try to tackle the world. Instead, do your best to create new routines. It was Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher, who believed that your character is ultimately transformed through the formation of new habits. Do something long enough and it begins to become you.
Let’s be honest. One domino knocks down another. Then that domino knocks down the next. All of the dominoes do not fall at once. If you want to make big changes, think small. Think consistent. Think imperfection. Imperfection? Sometimes you so want to get things in order that you do not take the good step because you want to do things perfectly. A perfectionist seldom completes a task, and most often, struggles to get started own the first place. If your goal is to work out four times per week and you have a week when you only work out once, then be grateful that you worked out once. Then, the next week, go for it again.
And, to speak to spiritual matters, spend time in prayer. Seek the Lord. Ask him where he wants you to grow. Reading God’s Word? Time in prayer? Giving generously? Sharing your faith even when you aren’t sure the Holy Spirit is leading you? Plugging into a small group? Attempting to do something that you know could end in failure? Become a servant in your local church that the leaders can count on? You get the idea.
As Christians, it is easy to just come up with goals, but we are called to so, so, so much more. Get in God’s face. Hear his voice. Your best best for a fulfilling, satisfying year (by the way, God is NOT opposed to this) is to hear one or two things from him rather than creating a multitude of resolutions that are rooted in everything but him. Granted, not every goal has to be overtly spiritual. But on the other side of things, all things are spiritual. Discipline yourself to lose 20 pounds and before you know it, that discipline will spill over into other areas.
Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” I can’t guarantee wealth, but if you will focus on developing new habit routines, you will see results.