On the one hand, I really dislike new year’s resolutions. All too often, they seem to set people (myself included) up for failure and increased self-abasement. Consider the following statistics related to new year’s resolutions as support of this fact:
45% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions.
8% of Americans succeed in keeping their resolutions.
24% never succeed in keeping their resolutions.
These statistics hold little encouragement or motivation toward setting New Year’s Resolutions. Now consider this related statistic:
People who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make them.
While the failure statistics speak loudly, a focus on the probability for success can determine the reality for meeting desired change. To help increase your chances of success, be sure to set resolutions that take steps toward a healthier you, that help you focus on that which leads to a reality of more joy, and that build and repair relationships.
If you don’t like the idea of “New Years Resolutions,” call them something else, like goals or say you’re working toward a healthier lifestyle. Either way, creating resolutions/goals, whatever you decide to call them, can significantly increase your chances for having a healthy 2015 & beyond.
Consider the following tips for helping increase the probability of success for your 2015 New Year’s Resolutions.
- Pray before you set any resolutions. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the resolutions that direct you down the path of God’s will for His glory, not yours. (Proverbs 16:9)
- Keep it simple. Simple does not necessarily mean easy, but it does mean more focused and true to who you are in Christ. A mistake many people make with goals and resolutions involves setting too many or not making them specific enough. Instead, consider setting a few (1-3) specific resolutions over 10 more general ones.
- Use the small-steps approach. Never underestimate the power of small steps to add up over time to make a huge difference.
- Write down your resolutions. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California did a study on goal setting with 267 participants. She found that people are 42% more likely to achieve their goals just by writing them down (See the article “What the Science of Goal Setting Tells Us about Accomplishing More of What Matters Most” by Michael Hyatt for more on this topic.).
- Pray over them frequently once they’re set. Put your written goals somewhere you’re likely to run across them frequently.
Now that we’ve covered the positive side of setting goals and given statistics supporting the benefit of making them, let’s take a look at some criticisms of goal setting and how we can combat these potential negatives.
- Resolutions too often focus on weaknesses rather than strengths. To combat this, be sure to set resolutions that build on strengths. Instead of focusing on fixing the past, focus on creating a better you in the future. Live forward, not backwards.
- Our goals often come from a place of comparison to others. Avoid this mistake by looking at who you are and who God wants you to be, not how you stack up in any way against another person.
- Goals & resolutions often set us up for inevitable failure. Get at root causes instead of symptoms. Start by simplifying life and reducing busyness and by gradually working toward creating a healthier lifestyle.
Personally, I’ve fallen pray to each of these criticisms in year’s past. Only by taking more time and prayerfully considering my resolutions before I set them have I been able to combat these criticisms which are all-too-easily a reality when nothing is done to prevent them.
Remember that this blog as a whole focuses on struggling to victory BECAUSE focus determines reality. With that, ask yourself what reality you want to struggle toward this next year. And remember, too, that a reality of true joy and one where truth determines focus lies at the heart of a struggle that truly leads to victory.
DISCUSSION: What are your thoughts on setting New Year’s Resolutions as way to have a healthy new year & beyond?