5 Tips for Making New Year’s Resolutions

calvin-and-hobbesI mentioned in yesterday’s post that if you feel like you ought to make a resolution this year, then that probably means you need to make a resolution.

But the word resolution is overused and not as heavy as a word I am going to propose in its stead for this post. This year, I plan on making a few New Year’s commitments. But how do you decide if it’s worth it?

You know what I mean… you resolve to lose three pounds a month and it’s December before you even realize you gave up on that back in March. But this year, let’s make deeper commitments than just meager weight loss and less video game time. Let’s examine a structure for how we can set commitments for 2013 and actually keep them.

1. Start Now

If there’s something you know you ought to change, we’ve less than a week before New Years; start today. Get a head start and prove to yourself that you can indeed make this change in your life. Don’t wait till New Years Eve. If you plan on drinking less, start now and persevere through December 31st. That way, when you’re tempted on January 3rd, you can look back and say, “If I can make it then, I can make it now.”

2. Replace, don’t omit

As creatures of worship and busy schedules, it’s not really possible to omit something from your life. We’re all completed puzzles, but if you take a piece out, we’re going to search frantically for something to fill in that missing piece. If you decide you want to play less video games, have something positive to fill in that block of time you usually play games. And make it fun! If you can afford it, go out for coffee during that time. If you’re trying to cut back on your cursing, learn to replace curses with blessings or positive words.

3. Commit to add 

When we think of New Year’s resolutions, we often think of depleting something from our lives, like sugar or bad habits or attitudes, or time spent online or in front of the TV. If you’re like me, you read too much, oft times at the expense of my loved one. So, instead of merely reading less, I am going to try to involve her in my reading more, and propose we read more together. If you watch too much TV, try watching things your kids would rather watch and join them in their interests. Add your loved ones to activities that have become solely about you.

4. Commit to fail

I’m an all-or-nothing kind of guy. If I fail once, I throw in the sack. But if I make room for imperfection, then I have a better chance at success in the long run. When I started this blog back in March I never made a commitment to post every single day. I just sort of generalized it by saying I’ll post 2-6 times a week. That’s a pretty big margin for failure if I’m committed to to posting every day. But 2-6 times a week – that’s doable, and it’s worked!  Leave room for imperfection.

5. Commit to achieve 

In exactly one year from this very moment, what do you want to look back on and say you’ve achieved? Want to have that book finally written or published? Want to have that degree in your hand? Want to have a stronger relationship with your spouse? Keep this future moment in mind. Every day. All year. And remember how fast a year goes by. It’s but a breath, so you really have very little time to achieve these goals.

Get a head start and begin today, before the 31st. Replace something bad with something good. Add things to enrich your life. Know your potential and leave room for imperfection. And always have the end in mind and imagine how wonderful it will be to reach it with a job well done.

Please help us achieve our goal to foster-to-adopt in 2013 by purchasing my book here.

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Moving Forward

NO LIMITS SIGN BLOG_0Post Christmas blues. December 26th – the most depressing day of the year. I’m sure Ebenezer Scrooge once had this day marked on his calendar with smiley faces and highlights while the rest of the world cried boo-hoo-hoo like the Grinch wanted to hear from Whoville.

The wrapping paper is torn and thrown out, the Christmas cookies are half eaten, the sink is piled up with dirty dishes, work starts back up, and reality sets back in. Through the magic and joy of Christmas, the Curse sets back in and reminds us of our daily duties and responsibilities and the grudges and burdens we carried on December 23rd set themselves back upon our shoulders, causing us to mope and drag our feet with breaking backs.

Last night, as Christmas came to a dreadful close, I made a couple of promises as to how next Christmas will be better than this year. And I perked up a bit because I have an entire 365 days stretched out before me to ensure that I accomplish what needs to be done to make Christmas 2013 a year for Sarabeth to remember for the rest of her life.

It was hard, I admit, celebrating another Christmas without a baby giggling in a crib. But if God allows it, those sounds will ring through our house next Christmas morning, and God will provide a way for us to pursue our foster-to-adopt goals.

Some of you know that we have been keeping Sarabeth’s sister’s two dachshunds for the last fourteen months or so, as she and her husband are over-seas as missionaries. They’ll be back next year, which we’re SO excited for, but they’ll be taking Rox and Syd back. So, not only do I pray we have a baby in the house, but we’ll also have a new puppy.

So 2013, as I have it set in my heart, will be a really great year. Now, maybe relatives will die, and disasters will strike and finances might deplete. We can still rest at peace if we are daily walking with the Lord, because we know that whatever happens this coming year, God has already got it written out, and has permitted to happen.

And everything that happened this past year happened because God allowed it. Maybe you had a bad year, and there are things you want to do differently in 2013. If you’re like me, you’re wondering if you should bother making New Years resolutions. Well, here’s a rule I generally go by. If you keep thinking you ought to make a resolution, that means you probably need to make that resolution, no matter what time of year it is.

Resolutions aren’t something you decide you want to make and live by. They’re generally something you need to make. But make them while looking forward. If you had a bad year – maybe you fell into some nasty habits, or you strayed from your relationship with Jesus, or you haven’t been running from anger or selfishness, or you have been denying your calling – then commit to making this very moment in exactly one year from now, one where you look back and can say, “Some things happened that were out of my control, but overall, I’m more refined by God because I allowed Him to do a work in me that needed to be done.”

Wouldn’t that be beautiful? Wouldn’t that be a great moment? I should say that that would definitely make up for the Christmas blues!

Or maybe you had a great year. Then I still say, make next year even better. How can you be more loving to your family? How can you spend more time with the Lord? How can you be more kind to others?

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

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