New year’s Resolutions
I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. It seems like they generally have a lifespan of between 7-30 days.
Confession time. I have very strong opinions about lots of things in life. I don’t think that’s a problem. What can be a problem, is being so positional about those opinions that I don’t leave myself any room to grow. When you’re so set on being right, that you can’t listen to an opposing viewpoint without getting emotional – you have a problem.
Let’s clarify. Getting emotional includes, but is not limited to, getting a little hot under the collar, having a heated argument, getting a little teary or crying uncontrollably. I’ve been the person that could vehemently defend the cause, even after the cause has ceased to exist.
Yes I’m poking fun at myself, but I have done those things to varying degrees. They were not the most glorious moments of my life. Thank the Lord that He promises to finish the work that He has started in us and that He loved me too much to leave me the way I was.
Now what does any of this have to do with New Year’s resolutions you ask? Well New Year’s resolutions were one of those things that I had very strong (negative) opinions about, but had softened my stance on.
So, a New Year’s resolution is basically a promise someone makes to themselves to be or do better in the new year to come. It can be a spiritual, relational, financial or physical resolution. It’s a very noble idea – doing better. So then why don’t our New Year’s resolutions generally last very long?
I think the secret lies in the difference between dreams and goals. Dreams of being and doing better, while very noble, don’t require action. They don’t really require anything other than good intentions and more dreaming. Goals on the other hand require action. They have deadlines. They are measurable.
I want to be a better wife/mom. Dream. What does a better wife/mom look like and do?
Now if I said I want to spend more time with my husband/kids, that’s a bit better but still not very specific. How much more time did I want to spend? What did I want to do with this time?
I want to spend 30 min every day just talking to my husband, seeing how he’s doing, taking an interest in what’s happening in his life. No complaining, blaming or judging allowed. That’s a goal. Will I spend 30min every single day? Maybe not, but it’ll be very easy to measure how well I’m doing and if I’m even close. Will I do better and be a better wife by even just partially achieving my goal – ABSOLUTELY!!
Would I have done better by dreaming about being a better wife? Be honest! NO!
If I had to say, I want to look like a swimsuit model – that would be a dream. What does a swimsuit model look like? Do they all look the same. How would I know when I looked like a swimsuit model anyway? What if my legs were too short or my shoulders too wide? I would have wonderful intentions of eating healthy and exercising regularly but with no real way to measure my progress, I’m probably going to say the same thing come January 2018…or abandon the idea as impossible.
Now if I said, I would like to lose 12 pounds over the next 3 months and I’m going to cut out all my refined sugar and stick to a balanced eating plan – that would be a goal. What would determine if I reached this goal or not, would be how good a plan I had. Did I have a balanced meal plan ready. How many times a week am I going to exercise? Did I have a specific exercise program worked out?
My own conclusion about New Year’s resolutions is this; you can dream or you can plan. If I want real change in my life, I don’t dream about it, I plan for it.
Take a long hard look at what it is you would like to change. Be realistic. Formulate a plan. Set a deadline. Break it down into chunks that don’t seem overwhelming. Set short term deadlines for those chunks. Measure your progress continually and make sure you stay on track. If you fall behind, work harder and readjust where necessary.
Don’t give up the first time you veer of track.
I always tell my children that there’s no point for a ship to leave the harbor is it doesn’t have a destination. When a ship has a destination, it can set sail and steer towards that destination. If you realize that you are off course, you can make some changes. If the ship has no destination however, it will float around aimlessly being tossed back and forth by the wind.
There’s no time like the present because right now is the only thing you can be sure of. So use the opportunity and take stock of where you are and where you want to be. Set some goals to help you achieve the change you’re hoping for. Be realistic and be specific. Set deadlines and hold yourself accountable.
It’s 2017, let’s go get some!