We are fast approaching the time of year that is both frustrating and exciting. It’s frustrating, because we experience it every year and halfheartedly commit to any resolution that we make. Second, it’s exciting, because we know that real change and opportunity is in front of us, and who doesn’t like that? Well, as we approach 2016, here are some suggestions for your resolutions and some tips on how to get them done!
Resolutions worth achieving
First, if you’re going to make resolutions, then make sure they’re even worth your effort. If they’re not worth your effort, then they’re not worth achievement. Here are some of my suggestions for 2016–2 will benefit you, 2 will benefit those around you.
Read. If you’re not a reader, then set out a smaller, more manageable goal, but reading has made people wiser for centuries. Don’t avoid it. The Bible is always a great place to start. For example, read a chapter of Proverbs per day. Day 1 read chapter 1, day 2 read chapter 2 and so on. If you enjoy reading, clear a shelf from your bookshelf and fill it with new books that you’ve read by the end of the year.
Heal. This is a little more tricky, but I seldom hear people say, “I’m going to focus on getting emotionally well this year.” Why not? The Psalmist says that God binds up the wounds of the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3). God is interested in our healing and health. How many thoughts, days, months, even years are given to unhealthy emotions because we have not forgiven, reconciled, or simply moved on the a new season in our lives? Follow God’s lead, and heal in 2016.
Serve. This year, either continue to serve others or make it a point to do so. Jesus taught that the greatest among us is the servant of all (Mark 9:33-37). This is something that’s contrary to typical thought, but if Jesus said it, it’s truth for me! Let’s serve others this year. Find someone in need, whether you know them or not, and humble yourself and serve them without charging them. Be gracious.
Give. Now, this may not be very popular, but this is something my wife and I are working on, so I want to share it. As the year closes, everyone tends to be a little tighter with their finances (partly because of Christmas…hello?!?!). Resolve this year to be a giver. Give widely. Give deeply. God always blesses givers in ways that are unexpected and wonderful.
How to get them done
Start small. Too many people make resolutions that are outside the realm of possibility for them. If you’re not a fit person, don’t expect to run 5 miles a day in the beginning. If you’re not a reader, don’t expect to read 2-3 books your first week. Start small. Make sure that what you resolve to do is something that you actually can do with effort and dedication. Then do it!
Set measurable goals. Setting measurable goals, whether its books read or pounds lost, is absolutely important for our progress, because if we can’t measure our progress, discouragement will set in and we won’t complete our goal. Keep a list and check it off. What books did you read that you hadn’t before? What weight did you lose? What are you doing in the gym that you hadn’t before?
Invite someone. Making your goals public does 2 things: 1) it helps to keep you accountable (who wants to brag and then not perform?); and 2) it invites others to join you in your mission. Resolutions are always easier to achieve with company! So, find some likeminded people and ask them to join you on your journey through 2016.
Expect obstacles. Unfortunately, obstacles are a part of life. The only people who don’t experience obstacles are people who aren’t living! If you’re going to make up your mind to change, to set goals and improve, then expect obstacles along the way. But be encouraged: the more obstacles you overcome, the easier it will become.
Celebrate victories. Once you achieve one of your measurable goals (above), then celebrate! There is nothing that says you can’t celebrate until you achieve your entire resolution. Celebrating along the way helps to keep you going and ultimately helps you reach your goal.
Here’s to 2016!