Friday, January 1, 2021

God: The Resolution-Keeper

My New Year's Resolutions: Let God take the lead

Do Resolutions Work?

Have you ever successfully kept a New Year's resolution? If you have, I want to hear about it and give you a medal! 

Don't get me wrong, I think resolutions are a good thing. They prompt us to take stock of what's happened and what we want to happen. It's helpful to do a "post mortem" (a term from my project management days) of the past year by thinking about all of the great things that happened and how you can do better with the not-so-good things next time.

But, even with all of that reflecting, we're kidding ourselves if we think we will really lose those last 10 pounds or walk five miles each and every day. I mean, kudos to those who actually achieve those goals, but it's not realistic for most of us. In fact, less than 8% of us are successful.

So, what's a better plan? 

Well, God is the perfect resolution-keeper... as long as the resolution is something that He thinks you need. So don't waste your time thinking of what you'll do better next year. Instead turn to God and ask Him to lead you through your self-improvement.

Even that resolution takes commitment, though. How many times have you resolved to pray every day only to miss a day or two after only a couple of weeks? Don't feel bad - you're not alone. Typically, most people keep their resolutions only until January 12th.

How Can I Talk With God? 

If you're not used to routinely praying to God, read about the PRAY method. I've found that this structure of prayer is very helpful and I still use it after years of being a "prayer warrior". It keeps my prayers from becoming merely a list of wants and wishes and elevates it to more of a conversation.

I find myself talking with God a lot, all through the day. When I was working, I would routinely go over my schedule as I drove to work each day. As a human resources director, I often had some difficult situation to resolve and I always asked God for help with those. Sometimes I would even ask Him to give me the words to say so I could be sure to handle it with understanding and grace.

Now that I'm retired, I still reach out to Him throughout the day. Most of the time it's to show thanks for something that's happened. Sometimes, though, I still face difficult situations and I try to always ask for help with those.

Making It A Habit

However you engage with God is just fine. Just do it! And do it routinely.

Behaviorists say that it takes twenty-one days to establish a habit. Here are some tips that may make it easier to stick with it.
  1. Find a time during the day that works for you to have uninterrupted time with God. Maybe first thing in the morning or last thing at night when the kids are in bed. Or during your lunch break at work. 
  2. Set a reminder on your phone so you don't forget!
  3. Pair it with another daily activity, such as walking the dog or cleaning the kitchen after supper. It's OK to multitask as long as the other activity is one of those mindless ones so you can really concentrate on your conversation with God.
  4. Give yourself a reward for each day that you pray. No, I don't mean an ice cream cone or new clothes. Something simple like putting a star on your calendar. My electronic calendar actually has a feature that let's you reward yourself in that way - it's a good visual reminder of your progress.
  5. Don't give up when you miss a day. You probably will because of a squished schedule or just forgetting. It's not the end of the world. Just jump back on that horse and keep on riding!

You Can Do This!

You've got this and, with God's guidance, you'll soon be on your way to self-improvement.

James Clear quote

"Improvements are only temporary until they become part of who you are.

-The goal is not to read a book, the goal is to become a reader.

-The goal is not to run a marathon, the goal is to become a runner.

-The goal is not to learn an instrument, the goal is to become a musician.

This year, focus on the identity you want to build." James Clear

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