Last Friday, I started an article about the problems with New Year’s Resolutions. Today’s article deals with setting up resolutions that can work. Hopefully you can find a few ideas here. Oh and if you missed last Friday’s article, here’s the link!
All of these types of resolutions are dangerous because they threaten your confidence. They are poised for failure for various reasons and should be avoided. That’s what I hate about New Year’s Resolutions. They have to be made on Jan 1. You have to start right away. If you don’t, you’ve already failed.
That’s ridiculous! You should be making goals all year long, even daily and minute by minute. And, though I do believe in shooting for the stars, don’t make your aim so high that you’ll lose heart after missing the shot over and over. Making goals is valuable, imperative even. “Where there is a lack of vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18. Here are a few suggestions in how to make them. Some of them may sound like semantics, but the way you word your goal makes a difference in your attitude about it.
- I will spend at least five minutes reading scripture at least 80% of the days. (That only allows for 73 misses. A little over 1 day per week.) The beauty about doing it this way is that your resolution starts new every morning. Missing one day doesn’t spoil the entire goal. And for a person who isn’t used to regular Bible study or even Bible reading, just remembering to do it can be such a challenge. Just don’t eat up more than one day per week at the beginning of the year or you’ll be in hot water once you get to June.
- For weight loss, make a plan. Pounds don’t just fall off. “I will give up flash carbs (sugar, white potatoes, and white flour products) for three months.” That’s a doable plan. Give up sodas, resolve to not eat after a certain hour of the day, promise to walk every morning. Those are actions that can be taken. And build in a don’t give up plan like the one I suggested for Bible reading, so if you fall off the wagon for a moment it doesn’t ruin the entire year.
- The same goes with trying something. Mr. Mayagi in The Karate Kid said, “There is no try. You either do yes, or you do no.” He compared trying to walking down the middle of the road. If you don’t pick a side you’ll get squished. “I will attend a Yoga class for three weeks before I decide if I should stay in it or not.” Likewise with joining a health club. “I will do an exercise circuit three days a week for forty minutes.” If you’re bad at procrastinating, change that three days a week to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so you won’t get to Saturday and not worked out.
- Make sure your resolutions only rely on you. If in the writing realm, then resolve to complete 3 manuscripts this year. If in publishing, then make your goal address having your manuscripts completely prepared for submission at the slightest opportunity. If you want a certain amount of sales (regardless of the occupation) let your resolution reflect what you are going to do to get there. You can still set your number – after all, that’s your evaluator – but make sure you have action items that you can actually do to help achieve that number. The actions are your true goal. Completing all of them in a stellar manner is a win, whether you hit the number or not!
The only other thing I have against New Year’s Resolutions is that folks get the idea that they have to start on Jan 1. “Oh, gee, it’s the third and I forgot to start. Guess I’ll have to wait until next year.” (Yes, I’ve done that one before!) Nothing says that New Year’s even has to be part of the Resolutions. By all means make them all year round! And don’t be afraid to call them resolutions instead of goals just because you don’t make them at the New Year. Resolution is a stronger word than goal. Use it. It means to take a stand, so be willing to go there! It will be worth the ride!