For this week’s blog link-up with Tuesday at Ten, Karen chose the phrase I resolve to. With the new year starting this week, many people will look at this phrase
and write about their New Year’s resolutions for 2016. Since I am not making any New Year’s resolutions, I’m not doing that. In last week’s post, I shared my decision to instead choose a word of the year, explaining why I chose JOY. So I don’t want to repeat that post. Instead, I’ll focus on the meaning of the word resolution and how it should apply to our lives.
While resolutions are not something I plan to make this year, I do hope to find answers and solutions to some recurring problems in my life.For example, I resolve to write more – and I have joined #Write365 to help me with that. This is a new group, made up mostly of Christians, who are making the commitment to write something daily in 2016. It may be a blog post, an article for publication, technical writing, part of a book, or even just personal writing in a journal – but the commitment is to some kind of writing every day. If you’re interested, it’s not too late to join. So my focus as I start 2016 will be on JOY and WRITING – often combining the two and writing on what God teaches me about joy.
WHY AVOID NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS?
According to some research done by the University of Scranton, of all the people who make New Year’s resolutions (some sites say this includes as much as 40-45% of Americans), only 8% are successful. Not a strong vote for the effectiveness of this method of self-improvement! As I read about WHY most New Year’s resolutions fail, the main cause is that the majority of people try to tackle too many things at once. If we try to do an “extreme makeover” of our lives every January, our list will most likely remain basically the same from year to year. But if we tackle one or at most two areas at a time, success is achievable.
But for success with resolutions, something else is needed. We not only need to know where we want to end up, we need to have a map to get there. In other words, we need to set a goal and then determine the steps we need to take to reach this goal. In my goal of improving my writing and my blog, I set some tangible steps to reach my goal. First, I switched to a new layout for my blog, one that allowed me to include some things the previous one didn’t. Next, I made a basic writing schedule of doing at least one blog post per week. And finally, I worked on a detailed weekly schedule that included time daily for either writing, doing research or learning ways to improve my writing skills. All of this had been done before I heard of #Write365, but this group seemed to fit like a missing puzzle piece with my plans so I signed up to participate. The group will provide accountability to help me do what I had already determined God was showing me to do.
Finally, as believers in Jesus Christ, there is one more factor we need to keep in mind. God made us for His purposes, and we need to seek Him for wisdom and grace to become the person He made us to be. It’s not all up to us. As it says in Philippians 1:6, God who started “a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” We have a part in the process: Philippians 2:12-13 says we are to continue to work out our salvation, and the passage says we do this by obeying the Lord. “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12-13 NIV)
I don’t know what your “dream” or desire is, but the above illustration makes the path to it being fulfilled clear. I encourage you to set a goal (or at most two) to focus on as 2016 begins. Then come up with a plan that breaks down that goal into measurable steps. Resolution comes in with the next step – be resolved to take action, to walk out the steps you’ve listed. Then pick another goal to work on. If you follow this pattern, and let God lead and empower you through His Spirit, your life will begin to change, one area at a time. Who says we can only begin to work on transforming our lives as the new year begins!