You did it, you survived Christmas! You have approximately half of a week left in 2016. Do you know what that means? It means you need to start planning your New Years Resolutions! Maybe you are not a “planner,” so planning a resolution may seem a little intense. Nevertheless, here are six quick thoughts that may stir in you a desire to make some good goals, and make them today.
1. Know why resolutions are worth your time.
There is no other time of the year when you will constantly be reminded to make new goals. Most of the time we are too busy with normal life to pause and reflect on our current habits and lifestyle. But New Year’s is different. It’s the annual “start over” day. Therefore, why not seize the opportunity to purposefully make better choices!?
2. Start planning now.
It takes some thought to find goals that are worth sticking with all year long. If you half-heartedly make goals, you may soon find out they are not worth your effort. Which is okay I suppose, but there goes a great opportunity to figure out what improvements are worth working towards. Spend some time praying about what areas of your life need the most improvement. Don’t jump the gun and pick a few typical resolutions. Ask God for his wisdom on seeing your life from his vantage point, ask him to show you your blind spots, ask him to help you know where you need to grow.
3. Start implementing now.
What if you started planning your goals today, and tried to implement them immediately. THEN, when New Year’s Day came, and it’s time to officially make a resolution, you will have a better idea on what didn’t work, what did work, and you can make some resolves with confidence that they are worth it and doable! Think of it as a pre-resolution resolution. Or a no-risk resolution trial. Or a 3-day money back guarantee resolution…You get the idea.
4. Be realistic.
We can get rather lofty in our New Year’s aspirations. Big statements are often made that don’t match our current lifestyle. Maybe shooting high will indeed help you improve; but for most of us, lofty goals will engender discouragement when we can’t “do it all.” This loss of enthusiasm may actually lead to less improvement rather than more. So think through your life in realistic terms, and make some attainable goals.
5. Remember the key to good goals.
If you are like me, there are a hundred (or more) things you could improve on. But the best goals will come from answering questions such as these:
“What does God want me to improve on?”
“With eternity in mind, what should I work on or change?”
“What in my life is not as pleasing to God as it should be?”
“What sin needs to be harder fought?”
“What godly habits am I weak in?”
You probably won’t be able to make every answer a goal, but picking a few is an excellent start! Of course, more trivial goals are fine to make, but having an eternal, God-focused mindset, is the key to making the best, most beneficial resolutions.
How amazing it would be if you could finish 2017 saying “I am more pleasing to God than I was in 2016!” Whatever goal would accomplish that is worth making.
6. Remember the key to the key.
Godly goals are good. But they may only be as good as the time you spend praying about them. God expects you to work, but he also expects you to depend on him for the strength to work. So don’t forget to not only seek God to find out how he wants you to improve, make sure you seek him for the ability to improve.
If those six thoughts did not compel you to make some good resolutions soon, maybe this passage will nudge you in that direction…1 Thessalonians 4:1 says, “Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.” Hopefully like the Thessalonians, your life matches the truth, and you are living to please God…and you should continue to do so more and more! As Christians, that is what our resolutions should be about. Decide how you can please God more, resolve to do it, and then do it…more and more!