Resolutions are coming! It is the time of year when people dream up New Year's resolutions to change their lives. The top resolutions continue to be health-related because everybody intrinsically knows they need to improve their health. The list usually includes losing weight, exercising more, being healthier, and eating healthier. The top picks that are not specifically physical health-related include personal improvement, increasing your happiness, financial changes, and relationships. However, the top three almost always have to do with physical health. So why is it the same every year? Is health really the desire of people’s hearts?
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, resolution means (DECISION)a formal statement of decision or opinion: The chairing officer called for a vote on the resolution. If you make a resolution, you promise yourself to do something. It doesn’t seem to mean the same thing for the vast majority of people who make a New Year’s Resolution. They make New Year’s Wishes. Like, I wish I would win the lottery, or I was 6’2 instead of 5’10”. One of my pet peeves in America is that we are ruining language by redefining words. I had never thought about the word resolution being redefined until today.
I propose that if we want to make a New Year’s Resolution, we make a formal statement of decision and promise ourselves to do something, and we stop with all the “wishing” like we are kids sitting on Santa’s lap. One of the most marvelous gifts of God is volition. If you make a resolution for this year, then be resolute. That is firmly determined. You have what it takes to choose and be determined to carry it out. A great verse illustrates the power we have over our bodies and lives when we are mission-focused.
1 Corinthians 9:25–27 (NIV84)
25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
This is, of course, talking about a much higher resolution that those who follow Christ have already taken. It is a resolution that wins a crown of everlasting life. That comes through the work of Christ and not our work. According to these verses, our response is to make decisions about our life and body that will benefit us. It is interesting to note that it is the body that is enslaved. Again, I understand the context, but the truth about our ability to control our choices over our bodies is right here! We can, anytime we choose, not live aimlessly live, not eat what we want, not sleep erratically and poorly, and not exercise only when we feel like it. We can choose to be healthy! So, instead of wishing for something this year like Charlie wished for the golden ticket to Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (I can’t believe you used a chocolate metaphor), let’s make a resolution! Here are some helpful practices for a resolution:
1. Use SMART goals –
a. Specific – Not a general statement like; I want to be more healthy.
b. Measurable – There has to be a metric to see if you have accomplished your resolution.
c. Attainable – Reasonable. Not lose 50 pounds in 1 month.
d. Relevant/(Realistic) – It is best to relate this to your broader goals in life.
e. Time-bound – It has to have a date affixed to the accomplishment
2. Create milestones – Milestones help you to celebrate progress. Whatever your goal, create a halfway point or quarterway points on the way to the final goal. So many fail when they don’t allow a 25% accomplishment to motivate them positively. Small successes are best.
3. Tell someone about it – Telling someone is motivating enough, but if you want to propel yourself to success, get someone to partner with you or help you. You could hire a pro, or you could enlist a friend. Goals are generally achieved with a higher success rate when you do it with someone.
4. Believe – You need to convince yourself that you can do it. You can stay true to it. Even when you fail and eat a ton of junk food or don’t exercise for a week, when you believe you can accomplish this resolution, you will do it!
5. Plan – You can’t live the same way and expect a different result. You have to put time in your schedule, which means putting it on your calendar. Plan the change.
6. Failsafe – Develop a plan so that if you fail somehow, you have a plan of action to get going again. You are not planning to fail, but if you do, you will have a plan of action ready.
I would love to hear your resolutions! Mine? I am not sure yet. I always plan new things for the upcoming year because it is an opportunity for new. I will look back at my journal and the words people have given me and pray. Ask Holy Spirit. What do I need to resolve myself to do in 2024?