I trust you’ve enjoyed a holy and blessed Christmas season and are now entering the New Year with hope and faith. At this time of year many of us are making resolutions for the New Year. And by March many of us will either forget the resolution, give up or fail miserably. So how do we make New Year Resolutions stick?
Last year I made a pretty simple resolution. It was something physical: I will do one pull up by the end of the year. So I started doing a lot of lat pull downs to prepare myself to hold my own body weight, I did negative pull ups with a bench to support me, and my mantra in the gym was “I can do all things through Christ … including one pull up!” (Philipians 4:13). By March my resolution was fulfilled and I just adjusted my goal to 5 and then to 12 pull ups and by December I was doing 3 sets of 12!
In retrospect I wonder why out of all my resolutions was this one successful. And being my logical self I wanted to formulate a plan for success for all my future resolutions. So this is what I came up with.
Before deciding on a resolution, really pray and ask God for discernment on what you can improve in your life. In the above situation I was thinking about my health and not my looks. My motivation was knowing that a goal like that will indicate an improvement in the strength and health of my body. It wasn’t an unholy or vain goal for the Bible tells us our bodies are temples of the holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19) and as such we must take care of our temples while we can.
This year I have decided on a more intangible resolution. I would like to be more decisive and more confident.
In terms of decisiveness, I have meditated on a couple passages:
So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. Rev 3:16
I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes. Psalm 119:125
Being lukewarm about many things in my life have really backfired for me this year. So just as we should not be lukewarm Christians, we shouldn’t be lukewarm friends, lukewarm employees or lukewarm students. In order not to be lukewarm we need to know what are the right decisions to commit to. The Bible says the Holy Spirit was sent to teach us (John 14:26) therefore we must consciously pray and read the Word to find out what path it is God wants for us to.
In terms of confidence, I believe the Holy Spirit led me to skip a few pages in a book I was reading and find this passage:
“As believers we are not to be self-confident but God-confident… we are to have confidence on God – that He will work through us”. Straight talk on insecurity – Joyce Meyer
It was such a simple yet profound statement and really changed my perspective on what it truly is to be a confident Christian… not arrogance or self-reliant but trusting in God’s promises to us!
So now that you have decided on a good resolution to have, you need to consciously work on it. Ask God what is the best way to go about fulfilling your resolution. Also keep in mind you can’t do it by yourself! Like I said before my mantra in the gym was all about doing through Christ and not by my own merits. God’s “weakness: is greater than any strength we may have (1 Cor 1:25) so we can depend on him to fill us with the power to resolve.
I had a habit of not sharing my resolutions. Last year I told my gym buddy about my decision and he had really good advice on how to get to my goal. Find someone you trust and share what you want to change. Now you have someone to be accountable to and someone to encourage you if you slip up… and trust me, slip ups will happen! Be careful who you choose to share with though. Unfortunately there are people out there who are not good neighbours. Even better is if they share with you as well so you can be mutually accountable. And don’t let any setbacks fill your mind with doubts. Doubts are manifestations of fear and fear is not from God (2 Tim 1:7). Fear battles your faith and without faith we cannot please God! (Heb 11:6).
4. Remember God in your success
The joy you feel when your resolution is complete is so amazing. The first day I did one pull up the immediate thought in my mind was “Thank God”. Let God know you are grateful for your fulfilled resolution. Let Him know that you remember it was through Him that you were successful and not by your own efforts.
So I hope these little guidelines help in whatever decision you have made for the year. Remember to stay in the Word and continue to pray that your desires are His desires.
Happy New Year
P.S. For those embarking on new health journeys this year, here’s a free app for tracking your journey and progress http://www.slimkicker.com.