So, what could make this year any different? Let me share with you a few tips and tricks for finally making at least some of those New Year's resolutions a reality:
- Determine whether or not your resolutions are really attainable. If your New Year's resolution is to lose weight, you might consider that not every woman is meant to weigh 120 pounds. If you've made the same resolutions year after year and have failed consistently, it may be time to re-evaluate.
- Write them down. You don't have to set up a special notebook for this exercise, just get out a sheet of notebook paper and write out what you are resolved to do this coming year.
- Keep your list close at hand. If you read your Bible every day, as you should, you may wish to keep them in there where they will be handy.
- Pray over them diligently. Just about every resolution you may think of begins with heart changes. But, the flesh gets tired of doing spiritual things. Keeping your resolutions in your Bible will be a good way to remind you to pray for God's grace to implement them.
- Tell someone about them. This isn't necessarily for accountability's sake, although that may be a good idea, but you are further cementing them in your own mind by verbalizing them.
- Plan for success. You will be better able to keep to your resolutions if you have a plan of action. Do some research regarding your chosen subject, then map out what it will take to get to your destination. Someone hoping to lose weight might begin by purchasing or checking out cookbooks with healthy recipes from the library and making menus from them. Anyone interested in keeping their home clean will need to work out some sort of schedule and perhaps assign others in the family to assist in the work load. He who fails to plan, plans to fail.
- Gather the necessary tools. You cannot build a house without the proper tools, and neither can you make your resolutions work without the means to carry them out. What exercise equipment or apparel are needed to begin your exercise program of choice? Do you need a budget software to keep your spending in order? What foods should be purchased to make the healthy meals you have planned?
- Break them down into attainable goals. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was your messy house, your overweight body, your mounting debt, your (fill in the blank). It is best to begin with an easily attainable goal relating to each resolution. For instance, instead of making it your goal to wipe down the bathroom every morning, decide to keep a bottle of cleaner and a cloth out on the counter each evening before bed. You will be one step ahead of the game by doing this one little thing. For weight management, you might consider preparing some meals for the freezer, cleaning and chopping vegetables for recipes ahead of time, or parsing out snacks into individual portions. You get the idea.
- See your failures as temporary setbacks. Most of the time, our resolve is quickly broken when we discover we are fallible human beings. We miss the mark and give up. But, if we see the flat tire as part of the journey, we may fix it quickly and get back on the road.
- Use the buddy system. This is the best way to keep resolutions regarding your health. Find a support group for losing weight or start your own with some friends from church or at work. Ask your spouse, one of the kids, or a friend or neighbor to start walking with you. It's always more encouraging to continue when you know there are others who will be expecting you to join them.
I was intrigued to find a list of resolutions penned by a well-known minister of the American Great Awakening, Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), found here. I can't help wondering how well he was able to keep his resolutions. Much better than I am, I'm sure! :)