“New Year, New You?”
New Year’s Day has come and gone. But my inbox is still overflowing with emails urging me to set resolutions so I can improve my life and manifest prosperity and grow to my maximum and yadda yadda yadda. If you haven’t detected from my tone yet, these emails don’t generate a lot of enthusiasm with me, for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, I’ve never had much success with New Year’s resolutions. And I know I’m not the only one. The statistics vary depending on which study you look at, but up to 91% of people who make New Year’s resolutions fail to keep them– and most of those give up within three weeks. So the success rate isn’t promising.
Secondly, New Year’s resolutions come at the wrong time of year for me. Thanksgiving and Christmas take a lot out of me, and by New Year’s Day I’m usually exhausted. Frankly, I’m just too tired to put forth the effort. I need some time to recover from the holiday hoopla. It’s too hard to wrap my head around a year-long endeavor.
So for me, the answer to the above question is no. No New Year’s resolutions.
A resolution isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s a decision to change something. We all have areas in our lives that need change, don’t we? When we fail to keep our resolutions, we often chalk it up to a lack of willpower. But that’s not the real problem. What most resolutions lack is a strategy– a plan.
The word “resolution” does not appear in the Bible. But the word “plan” occurs 205 times! Obviously if God mentions something 205 times in His Word, it’s got to be pretty important, right?
The truth is, God Himself plans for the future– our future. One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” If God plans for our future, shouldn’t we follow His example?
So, what are some options for New Year’s resolutions?
Option #1: Quarterly Planning
I’ve had some experience with planning. I was a teacher for 44 years, and planning is a big part of the job. My new year wasn’t January 1– generally it was in August, signaled by the back-to-school sales. The school year for me started weeks before the students came back. I always loved setting up my classroom, determining the best arrangement for the furniture, organizing all the materials needed, and decorating to establish a cheerful and positive environment. Then there was lesson planning to do, in various subject areas. The school year is divided into quarters, so I grew accustomed to planning that way.
So one option to New Year’s resolutions can be quarterly planning. The year neatly divides in 3-month quarters. A year-long resolution may be overwhelming, but doing some planning for a three-month period is definitely doable, isn’t it?
Start by writing a list of goals for the next 12 weeks. What are some things you’d like to accomplish?
Next, break that big goal into smaller chunks. What are some steps you can take to reach those goals?
Then figure out a schedule for those steps. You can break it down monthly, weekly, daily.
At the end of three months, evaluate. Did you reach that goal? If not, how much farther do you need to go, and what do you need to do to get there? It’s perfectly alright to extend the goal for another quarter. And you can move on to a new goal as well.
You can start this process slow and small until you get used to it. But my guess is that thinking of three months at a time will be more manageable than tackling an entire year all at once. Why not give it a try?
Here are links to some articles on quarterly goals that may be helpful:
Option #2: Word for the Year
Another option to New Year’s resolutions is selecting a word for the year. The object is to find a word that will be sort of a theme for the year, something to center your thoughts and actions around.
I tried this last year. I prayed and asked the Lord to give me a word that would guide me in the coming year. The word that came to mind was “Expectation.” So as I went through 2022, I kept this word in mind. I made bookmarks with the word on them, and I taped the word to the top of my computer screen, where I would see it daily as I worked at my desk. I began expecting to see God move, expecting Him to bless me, expecting more in my life. And I saw results! My word for the year helped me to maintain a more positive mindset. It opened me up to new possibilities.
I was so pleased with “Expectation” that I’m asking the Lord to give me a new word for this new year. Perhaps this is something you’d like to try! Here are some links to other articles you may find interesting:
Happy New Year!
Regardless of whether you choose New Year’s resolutions, quarterly planning, or a word for the year, I hope you will turn to God for guidance this year. The real key to a happy new year is to trust in Him. My wife’s favorite verses are Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
It’s also good to keep in mind Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Trust in Him to guide you in this new year. Ask Him for wisdom in your decisions, and rest in the assurance that He will lead you in the way you should go. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
My prayer for you is Psalm 20:4– “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.” Amen!
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“God Has PLANS For You!” http://www.livingthetransformedlife.com/god-has-plans-for-you
“Created With Potential” http://www.livingthetransformedlife.com/created-with-potential