Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Resolved: Make resolutions happen

For those of you who have not yet become jaded by New Year's resolutions, just give it some time. The excitement of the calendar rolling over to January will one day become a knowing sigh that sounds something like, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Twice? Ha!!! I can't count how many times I "vowed" to make the new year one that would lead people to write about how great of a person I was.

Oh, I was something special for a few days or even weeks. But once it no longer felt like a new year, the old Jeff started creeping back. Perhaps some of my resolutions stuck, but not necessarily because I kept thinking of them as resolutions. They simply became a part of me. Within a few weeks of New Year's Day, I probably couldn't remember what resolutions I made (maybe I need to resolve to be better organized so I can find my resolutions, eh?).

So why do resolutions so often go by the wayside, and how can we do better at making them stick? Here are some of my thoughts; please feel free to add yours:

First, I think we need to do away with the idea that somehow New Year's Day is the best day to resolve to do anything. If we see something about ourselves that needs changing, do something about it now. If I've waited until the new year, how resolved could I possibly be about addressing that issue in the first place?

We also need to always keep in mind M. Scott Peck's obvious but often forgotten truth: "Life is difficult." I don't know about you, but I tend to make resolutions when I feel excited about doing new things, but once the euphoria wears off and the challenges come, I'm ready to say "later." More often than not I will probably not feel like doing many of the things that have the potential to turn my life around, but I'll usually feel better afterward for having done them. In fact, even getting started makes me feel more motivated to do that thing than sitting there waiting for the motivation to hit me.

And perhaps we resolve to change too much too soon. I tend to create large lists of things I want to change about myself, and then I look at it and think, "It's too much." So I do nothing. Or I make half-hearted stabs. I think in the future I'll look at a handful of things that matter most in my life, and address them. At least I'll be a little better than I was by year's end. Hey, it beats setting lofty goals that I come nowhere near meeting.

Finally (at least for now), it might help me to visualize the potential outcomes based on doing/not doing what I resolve. What will I look and feel like in 20 years if I don't eat better and exercise more? How much joy will my wife experience if I write her more notes and cards?

I'll have to think through a handful of things I want to accomplish during 2006, and then pray for wisdom, courage, and strength to carry them out. May each of us be a little bit better come January 1, 2007. God bless you all.


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13 Comments:

At 18:32, Blogger eph2810 said...

Oh, I what a wonderful post. Yes, I have made many resolutions in the past, but now, I just set goals I know I can accomplish and that I stick with it...

Your idea writing notes and cards to your wife? Go for it and stick with it. She will love it...believe me :). I love it when my Sweetheart does it!

BTW - welcome back. I truly missed you being around blogging, but I understand your break over the holidays....

 
At 09:57, Blogger Jeff said...

Thank you. May we both move forward this year, even if just a little bit. God bless you and your sweetheart.

 
At 10:43, Blogger Guppyman said...

I made only one resolution this year...

I will try to live each day to glorify God.

Past that, I couldn't think of anything else that seemed nearly as important.

 
At 14:57, Blogger Jeff said...

guppy, that would be a very noble goal for any of us, and one I will certainly place atop my list.

 
At 11:07, Anonymous Eric said...

Jeff...great post on a subject that we all deal with, even if we don't admit it! :) I've started a Psalm series this week over at Little Bit and as I pondered and meditated on Psalm 1 for todays post I found that it applies more than I realized to our New Years resolution...especially the one like Guppy stated above! I'd like to invite you as well as anyone else interested, to join me in this weekly study as well.

As for our adoption story, I will post more later this week. We are waiting (anxiously) for our assignment/referral (Korea) to arrive. Hopefully this month. We've been in the process since Oct. 04!

Blessings to you all...

 
At 17:42, Anonymous Jon said...

Jeff,very good post!!

 
At 09:05, Blogger Jeff said...

Eric, I'll pray about whether to join your study. Right now my plate is quite full, although God could certainly make room if He believed it was best for me. And I'm looking forward to seeing more about your adoption. My wife and I plan to hunker down and really get into the bulk of the paperwork starting this weekend. We've actually been in the process since about June 2005.

Jon, thanks for your encouragement.

 
At 13:46, Blogger eph2810 said...

Just want you to know that I am praying for your and wife regarding the adoption :)
In His grip ~~Eph2810

 
At 14:43, Blogger Jeff said...

Thanks much, eph! Sorry I haven't been at your blog as much lately, but it's been crazy lately. I'll fill you and others in more in the coming days.

 
At 13:57, Anonymous Sarah said...

Jeff,

Hi, my name is Sarah! My teacher, Mr. Janke, has a link to your blog site, on our blog site, so I thought I'd take a look at some of your blogs again since I haven't for a while. This year, I didn't make any new year's resolutions. It seemed to me that in the past, I'd always fail. I agree with what you said about if we want to change something about ourselves, we shouldn't just wait till the new years, but we should change it now. I really don't want to change much about myself. The only resolution I make (which is about everyday) is that I remember God first in my life! If I can do that every day life will seem much easier! And then if I pray for God's help to remember him, I can't fail!

 
At 19:57, Blogger Sonya C. Triggs said...

Yes, yes and yes! I have made many, many New Year's Resolutions that have just not stuck. I've discovered (probably like a lot of other people) that the changes that stick have taken time! Years, months or weeks finally go into changing me into...an infinitessimally better person. For example, after years and years of working on my eating habits, I have finally managed to start off each day with yogurt and high-fiber cereal instead of....Krispy Kremes! But, boy, do I miss the Krispy Kremes! I always reassure myself by reminding myself that we can only do the best we can do...and leave the rest in God's hands.

 
At 12:37, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading the Bible throughout the year is the foundational and insightful way to go.

The method is best which multiplies the effect 3X is to read it ALOUD.

I have done it 13 times in the last 18.

 
At 13:40, Blogger Jeff said...

Sarah, sometimes it's better to have fewer but more important resolutions. Putting God first in your life is indeed at the top of the list, and if we all did that our life will get much better.

Sonya, habit formation is a key. Of course I mean forming good habits! I need to remember not to try and change everything at once. Even if I improve one thing at a time, I'll be a different person before too long.

Anon, I hope to read through the Bible more often. I've only done it twice in my life. And I agree that it would "stick" more by reading it aloud. May the Lord continue to bless your efforts.

Jeff

 

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