In two days 2017 will begin and 2016 will fade away. Every new year is an exciting time to put away the old and begin the new. This reminds me of Ephesians 4:22-24, “…put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of GOD in true righteousness and holiness.” A new year can be like our lives when we found Christ – the old is put away and a new style of life has begun. Imagine if we decided to follow Christ and not put the old away but hold onto it.
That is what I am seeing quite a few people say about 2017. They are saying things like “I’m not making resolutions because I can never keep them” or “I always break new year’s resolutions within the first month”. The thing is a resolution can be a great thing. Here are a few tips for making new year’s resolutions this year.
- Make reasonable resolutions. Let’s say you are a five foot tall girl/guy with brown hair. Is it realistic to say your new year’s resolution is to be six foot tall with blonde hair? That’s what some people’s goals sound like. Do not make goals that are impossible to obtain. In my job as a social worker I have assisted several people in breaking addictions. The first step to doing this is to make reasonable resolutions. When I help people make a resolution to quit I set the expectations lower so that they can be met. I do not say “tomorrow you will quit and never smoke again”. Instead I say let’s make a goal to smoke a pack less of cigarettes a week”. When they are able to obtain this we reassess the goal and make a new goal. This is how we should look at new year’s resolutions. Set smaller, realistic resolutions and if you achieve them early you can always make new ones throughout the year.
- Don’t expect perfection. If you are a Type A personality like me than you expect that you should be able to do everything right the first time around. This is not always the case. This was not even true of one of my favorite people in the Bible. Paul says, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15 NIV) Even Paul struggled to do the things he wanted to do. If Paul, one of the greatest missionaries of all time, can make mistakes then we can too. Give yourself a break – everything does not happen on the first try.
- Research. losing weight, find out healthier ways to eat and talk to a personal trainer. Do you have the money to eat better foods or to pay for a personal trainer? What are all the things you need to do to achieve this resolution?In social work when I create a goal plan with a client, we work to make those goals measurable. We come up with a resolution like losing weight but then we break it into smaller pieces. In order to measure the success we will put things like – research the healthiest ways to lose weight, eat out less, make a monthly menu, and work out five times a week. Then,every time they accomplish one of these mini goals they can feel success. Looking at those steps also make the goal seem more obtainable. Make sure when creating a resolution that you do these things.I hope some of these tips will assist you in making New Year’s Resolutions and achieving them. Do not shy away from them out of fear but embrace them as something to try in this next year of your life. Remember: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)