Today is July 1st! We are halfway through 2015. I have a sneaking suspicion that if you made resolutions in January, they’re a distant memory. Perhaps a nagging feeling of “I should get around to that…” Perhaps you say something like, “Why make resolutions? I just try to continually be improving myself or my life.” Or perhaps you feel that resolutions are just a chance to fail.
I’m writing this to ask you to consider thoughtfully making resolutions for the rest of this year. Or this month. Or even one week at a time. Let me give you three reasons why and then I’ll give you five strategies for how. Trust me, this is SO worth it!
1. Purposefully making one simple change can alter the trajectory of your life, friendships, faith, career, or relationships.
Little steps add up. You know it’s true. And without being intentional, life gets away from you. It happens so naturally! How many times have you said to yourself, “It’s Thursday already?!” Or, “It’s July already?!” Life has a way of trucking along, and if you don’t decide to purposefully make a change or a goal, it won’t happen by itself.
2. You work for YOURSELF, not anyone else!
One of the best things about resolutions is that no one is telling you what to do, what to accomplish, what to strive for. You are the only one who needs to even know! I type my resolutions and print them out and put them in my bathroom where no one but me goes. Sometimes I don’t even tell my husband what they are. I’m not working for anyone but myself. Especially if you work a stressful job, or have a demanding boss, this can be so refreshing!
3. It gives such a strong sense of accomplishment.
Perhaps this goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway! It doesn’t matter if you are a to-do list, task-oriented person (like me) or not. If you set a goal, work at it, and accomplish it, you will feel GREAT about yourself. I believe it is how we are wired. For me, my resolutions that I accomplish actually become part of my history. For example, 2014 I resolved to meal plan and host more people for dinner. And 2013 was the year my resolution was to work on a healthy pregnancy. The year 2012 was the year I focused on friendships and resolved to write birthday cards to ALL my friends. And 2011 was the first year that I decided to strive toward reading the Bible annually, and I have ever since. These resolutions have become a part of my personal history, and I love remember the sense of accomplishment that came with each goal.
Write the resolutions in order of your priority. Put the most energy into your first ones. This also gives you an “out” if it becomes overwhelming or discouraging. Then you just pare down your list and focus on the top few. I also put “surefire” ones up top, and “riskier” ones near the bottom. For example, this year I knew I would accomplish my reading goal. It was just a matter of time, and patience. So it goes on the top of the list. But I was not sure if I was going to be able to run 3 races this year, because it depended not only on my level of training and commitment, but on scheduling, finding someone to do it with me (who wants to run a race alone?!), and even weather (one of my planned races got rained out last year). So the order of your list matters, though it seems unimportant.
2. Find the time.
My dad always said, “You make the time for what you want.” Isn’t it true? If you really want to accomplish a resolution, it will happen for you. For example, I “found time” on my commute. I have a half-hour commute to and from work each day. On those days, I would listen to the Bible or an audio book, which were both things I resolved to do.
3. Build routines that help you succeed.
I believe strongly in the adage, “Begin with the end in mind.” If you make things routine, a normal part of your life, it will happen much more naturally! This makes sense most for weight loss and fitness goals. If you begin a healthy exercise routine, and plan a time that will work for you not just for today, but for the rest of the week, you will probably actually follow through.
4. Regroup monthly.
This is huge for me. A year is a LONG time. Seriously, a lot happens in a year. Sometimes your dreams and goals from January don’t really make sense halfway through the year. For example, one year, I resolved to run three races, but then I found out I was pregnant. I know some people can run through their pregnancies, but I was sadly not one of them. So my goal changed to be less about the races and more about staying healthy while pregnant.
And a bonus thought: The Bible says in Proverbs 16:3, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” Ask God what He wants you to accomplish, and He will give you success!
So what are YOUR resolutions? Did you set any in January that you’ve accomplished already? Good luck with setting goals!
I resolved to write this blog this year! Check that one off!