The new year has come; what are your resolutions?
In my early twenties I stepped on my bathroom scale and was shocked to see 127 appear in black and white. Right then, I made a resolution to lose twenty pounds. I felt exhilarated —a sense of achievement when I wrote it on paper. It was fun to dream. I visualized my smaller self in a new outfit.
That was my foray into new year’s resolutions. I laugh now at the silliness and immaturity—I didn’t even know where to begin. With no daily or weekly habits, my resolution didn’t work.
Do you ever find yourself disappointed and perplexed when you don’t reach your goals?
I eventually realized my health was important, not the number on the scale.
Resolve: to firmly decide
As time went on I acquired a better understanding of goal setting. I learned that I’d need to form daily habits to achieve a year-end goal.
I also understood the importance of seeking God’s will about my goals. I realized He had a sensible plan for me that would help me live the way He wanted me to.
I was a disciple of Christ; it was His discipline that I’d come under; not my own.
Some personal examples:
I needed a strong heart and body to love and care for family and play with my grandchildren. To show hospitality to my neighbors.
My goal went from losing twenty pounds to drinking more water each day—not an unrealistic goal of a gallon of water. If I usually had sixteen ounces, I’d increase the daily intake to twenty-four ounces for the first month and add a few ounces each month. I’d keep track so I could measure my progress.
When I moved to Columbia a few years ago, I’d walk the same route in our community each day. Exercise is crucial for me. Then, I gradually added distance based on landmarks. Before I knew it, I’d doubled the length of my walk. Taking small measurable steps each day adds up to significant growth.
Goal: intention; mark; objective; the end toward which effort is directed
A weight-loss diet is the most common new year’s resolution. Diets often fail to provide lasting weight loss. To go on a diet is to say you can go off a diet. This can cause weight gain because you crave the foods you gave up. I’m no health expert, but I think it’s best to create a new lifestyle with healthy foods you enjoy. I like to eat fruits, vegetables, grains and very little meat with some unhealthy treats thrown in. I eat when I’m hungry and try to stop when I’m not. It’s nearly impossible to stay on a diet when you’re hungry.
How to Set Goals with God’s Plan in Mind:
- Spend time in prayer.
Ask God for a word to help you focus on your specific purpose. I clearly heard the word, “build” at the first of the year. I was excited for the clarity.
Ways I’d apply the word:
- Build myself up physically, spiritually and intellectually.
- Build up my friends and family with encouragement.
- Build up strangers in my community with a kind word.
- Build my trust in God and cast off fear.
2. Surrender your desires to Him.
Be quiet and listen. Reframe your thoughts and ideas to conform to His. Your goals shouldn’t be identical to someone else’s. What He’s planned will be good for you and will strengthen His Kingdom on the earth. Is there anything better?
3. Read and ponder God’s Word each day.
He’ll encourage you by the Holy Spirit and will teach you what you need to learn.
Habit: an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary
Practical Ideas for Goal Setting:
Focus on a daily habit rather than a year long goal.
One tiny daily change will accomplish a significant achievement by year’s end. A 1% change each day will result in 37 times improvement in a year.
I’ll walk one additional block.
Make your new habit easy at first.
Read one page. Write one sentence. Tie a habit to an ingrained one such as drinking morning coffee.
As soon as I pour my coffee, I’ll pick up my Bible.
Put a star on your calendar to reinforce a habit or give yourself a treat after you complete it.
After I read my Bible I’ll look at Instagram.
I hope my thoughts encourage you as you consider your intentions for the new year. Be sure to celebrate everything you accomplished in 2020. Even in such a difficult and strange year, there are good things to remember.
Please tell me. Do you have a word for the new year? Are there new habits you’ve integrated into 2021? What are your annual goals?