I think resolutions should be more like goals. To be resolute, according to www.merriam-webster.com, means "marked with firm determination, resolved". I have heard that statistically most people have given up on their resolutions by the end of January. I would say that is not resolve. I would say that most people didn't have a plan or didn't set achievable goals. The word goal, according to Wikipedia, means "a desired result an animal or a system envisions, plans and commits to achieve-a personal or organizational desired end point in some sort of assumed development". Wikipedia also says, "Goal setting ideally involves specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-targeted objectives."
Let's choose a common New Year's resolution which is to lose weight. If that is all that is involved in the resolution, it will probably fail. I think it needs to be looked at more as a goal, and each goal like the layers of an onion. What steps do I need to take to get there? Am I going to reduce my calorie intake? What kinds of food am I going to eat instead of what I am eating now? Is this new way of eating going to cause me an increased amount at the grocery store and is there room in my budget for the increase? When am I going to be able to shop for these new food items so they are available as good choices in my home? Am I going to add exercise to my weight loss program? Am I going to walk or run outside? Do I have a gym membership or am I going to do workout videos at home? How many times a week am I going to exercise? Am I going to have an accountability partner? Can I set up rewards for myself for meeting certain weight loss goals? As you can see, it is not as simple as I want to lose weight. It needs to be a goal that is set, measurable and attainable.
The new year is a great time to evalute where I am in a variety of areas. I think it is good to not only have one main goal but to have at least one goal in several areas. Physical, spiritual, financial, personal, mental, academic, relational, or familial are all types of goals which can be set. This year I have narrowed mine down to four-physical, spiritual, personal and financial.
Physical-To work out twice a week. I know that experts say that I should work out 5 times a week, but I know that is unrealistic for me. Two times a week is a challenge to find the time, but realistic and probably attainable for me most weeks. I am mostly going to do DVD workouts during the winter. I can walk the dog or run if there is no snow and above freezing. I went out and bought some new workout clothes with some Christmas money. I would like to see if I can walk/run the half-marathon this year in June.
Spiritual-To have more meat in my prayer time. Start a prayer journal, if needed, to keep my prayers more on track. Also, I want to do more outreach and multiply myself this year. Reach out to my neighbors and invite them to church or Lifegroup. I also want to start an outreach idea that He has given me. That might be the subject of another blog!
Personal-I want to stay in better touch with my friends. I miss them. However, life seems to take over, and I don't connect with them like I want. I want to call or write or text a friend or a family member once a week to stay in touch better. I also want to follow through more on tasks. When I make breakfast for the kids, I need to clean it up before I move on to something else. At the end of the day when I have 10 not followed through on items, it is overwhelming. I need to be better at that. My whole family needs to be better at that.
Financial-To go over and revamp our budget. Is it working for us or not? How can we build wealth and get to where we are going faster? Are we on the right track? Are there places to cut or things we need to add? Do we need to move any money around or leave it where it is or diversify more? A good financial check is a good thing, and gets Carl and I mutually focused on our financial goals.
There are going to be weeks where I might not get my exercise in or weeks I might not call a friend. They are goals I am striving for, but I know I am going to fail at them sometimes. Thank God that each new day is a new beginning. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness." Thanks be to God that when I fall down, He is always there to pick me up. He will never leave me or forsake me, and I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11, NIV