As the New Year approaches, most people make a series of New Year’s resolutions. Some resolve to losing weight, lowering their stress, or sacking more money away for the future. All of these resolutions seem achievable and those who make them really do indent on following through with them. At the start of 2018 a study by Statista.com revealed the top five New Year’s resolutions made by Americans:
53% resolved to save money
45% resolved to lose weight or get in shape
25% resolved to have more sex
24% resolved to travel more
23% resolved to read more books
These are all good resolutions, but in reality no matter what we resolve to doing, very few people actually follow through on their resolutions. In fact, Business Insider conducted a study revealing that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week in February. That is a very high failure rate. I suggest that prior to making any New Year’s resolutions, you commit to five overarching principles that will help you make the right resolutions no matter what resolutions you are thinking about making. So before you make any list, consider making these five commitments first.
1. Commit to the right things. One reason why we fail to follow through on our commitments is because we don’t commit to the right things. When you don’t commit to the right things you set yourself up for failure right from the start. Don’t commit to being the team manager if you don’t like managing. Don’t commit to volunteering at your kids school once a week if it puts too much stress on your family. We live in a complex, busy environment where everyone is asking for help all the time. You should only commit to doing the things that enhance your life and add value to the greater community. For example, you may get asked to commit to keeping the books for the kids team and get asked to make meals for struggling families. If you are an excellent cook, you should consider prioritizing cooking food for others once a month over keeping the books. Do what you are good at and trust that God will bring in others who are willing to use their gifts to shore up the areas where more volunteers are needed.
2. Commit to realistic things. Don’t commit to going to the gym five days a week when your family life and work schedule makes this impossible. You might be able to rearrange your schedule for a week, but is it sustainable for six months? If it’s not, then change your expectations so you can follow through on your resolutions. And when it comes to saving you may be able to save 1% for the next three months then bump your savings up to 2% of your gross income. Gradually over time you can increase your savings to 5% or 10%, but don’t expect to save that much right away, especially if you have been living check to check for years. If your resolution is to lose weight, set realistic goals tied to how much weight you would like to lose. If your goal is to lose 12 pounds commit to losing 12 pounds over the course of three months that equals one pound a week, which is realistic.
3. Commit to not feeling guilty for saying “no” when you need to say “no.” I remember back when I had small children living at home. They were in sports, did church activities, and had homework every night. My time for other commitments was limited due to my own family obligations. As my children have grown older, my nights have opened up simply because my kids are more independent now. If you can’t commit to do something, it’s OK to say no. And when you say no, don’t fret about it, focus on the right commitments you made.
4. Commit to investing in yourself. I suggest investing in yourself on three levels: body, soul, and mind. Take care of your body whether it means getting enough rest, exercise, or eating right. And take care of your soul by connecting with Christ through praying often, reading the bible on a consistent basis, and attending church faithfully. Invest in your mind by reading intellectually challenging books, watching documentaries, and increasing your knowledge.
5. Commit to building great relationships. I learned long ago that you can’t be close friends with everyone, but you can be close friends with one or two people. Most people have far more acquaintances than friends and that is OK, just don’t expect to have great friendships with dozens of people because good friendships take time and effort to build. Invest in those who you want to be friends with and who want to be closer friends with you. These are the relationships that should get priority.
2019 can be your best year yet if you commit to applying the five guidelines we just covered. If you do, you can be one of the 20% that actually sees their New Year’s resolutions come to fruition. And in doing so, you will be happier, healthier, and more content. This is the whole reason we make New Year’s resolutions in the first place. May the LORD bless you as you step foot into 2019. May it be your best year yet!
https://www.statista.com/statistics/378105/new-years-resolution/, accessed 27 December 2018
https://www.businessinsider.com/new-years-resolutions-courses-2016-12, accessed 27 December 2018