Friday, January 10, 2014

My Thoughts On New Year's Resolution

I'm not really BIG into New Year's resolutions anymore.  Maybe that has something to do with the fact that I failed greatly at mine last year.  While I do think it's helpful to announce your resolutions, if you have them, hopefully someone will keep you accountable, I have some other reasons why having a resolution is "harmful". It's great to have goals and to desire to start off the new year "right", but inevitably, our local gyms will be stock piled with people from Jan 1 - Feb 1 and then things will slowly fizzle back to normal.  We are human!  Our natural state, apart from Christ, tells us to rebel. If you tell your body, "NO SUGAR", you may lose an insane amount of weight at first, but eventually you will gain it ALL back PLUS some, because you will indulge one time (causing you to feel like a failure) and it will be down hill from there.  YOU will rebel.  If you tell yourself, "I'm not spending money!", your checking account may look good for a while, but eventually you find yourself dipping into your savings account because you over drafted your checking account. If your goal is to spend more time with your family, you may turn that into a "task" rather than a true joy! And eventually, bitterness and resentment strikes.  For me, I just decided that there is so much I can change about myself AND waiting for January 1 to arrive is silly.  Start your "One day I'll…" TODAY!  It has to be a lifestyle change.  You HAVE to see your need to change, be willing to change it, and make it a long term, lifestyle change.  If I live by my motto to "do all things to glorify HIM who saves", making this my LIFESTYLE, then hopefully, as I am sanctified each and every day, my changes will come with conviction and the less and less there will be to change.  Making unrealistic goals, such as "I'm never drinking soda again" or whatever… is foolish.  Constantly doing a self-examination is much wiser. YES, there may be a PERIOD of TIME that you have to refrain from SUGAR or SOFT DRINKS, if it's an idol in your life, but saying NEVER to anything is worthless and beyond unrealistic.  I speak from experience.  

50% of Americans set a New Year's resolution AND 88% of those people FAIL at them.  It's something to think about!!!  Why do you think that is?  Because in order to stick to a resolution, you have to have will power.  Once you go against your will, breaking the resolution, even just one time, you feel like a failure and almost immediately will revert back to your old ways/behaviors.

If YOU have set resolutions, here's MY opinion:
1. Be realistic. Are you a chain smoker? And have been for years?  Well going cold turkey is not really the wisest decision if you plan to succeed.  For some, yes, but for most, NO!  Slowly decrease the amount of cigarettes you smoke. Until your down to NONE.

2. Reward yourself.  If you go 14 days without a dessert. Celebrate with a dessert.  There is NOTHING God made that isn't good.  Enjoy the pleasures that he offers.

3. Do things moderately.  If you obsess at the gym, you will wind up making working out your idol.  It will be a vanity issue.  You will be unenjoyable to be around. You're entire agenda (as well as everyone else's that you are with) will be based on the foods you can or can't eat and the times you have to eat them.  Your moods will be off kilter.  It will be all you talk about. You may even turn into a narcissist.   

4. Have self control.  Is it okay to eat fast food EVERY DAY?  Some would argue, that's totally dependent on the person. I'd say it's not good for anyone to eat fast food everyday.  It's expensive.  It's fattening.  AND The more you eat it, the more you want it.  BUT, is it bad to eat fast food?  NO! Sometimes, it's the ONLY option. OR do you eat out often?  Do you order a coke (loaded with calories), an appetizer (totally unnecessary), a meal, and a dessert?  Do you also load up with bread or chips?  Drink a non-calorie drink if you can't settle for water.  Allow yourself ONE serving of bread or chips, DO NOT ORDER AN APPETIZER, eat a hamburger without the fries OR the without the bun, forget the dessert (unless it's Friday or Saturday :). These are ALL simple ways to ENJOY LIFE, all while having self-control.  

5.  Make the changes that you feel are necessary.  Don't change something that someone else thinks you should change unless what you're doing goes against God's word.  In other words, is your friend forcing their convictions on you?  Maybe your friend is a home schooling parent and they are making you feel wrong for sending your child to public school?  Or visa versa? Are you a working mom and your best friend is a stay-at-home-mom?  Do you feel her forcing your convictions on you, so you are considering quitting your job?  Everyone's circumstances are different. Make changes that are necessary for you, NOT your best friend.

6. Check your decisions against God's word.  Even your resolutions can be ungodly.  Think about it.  Your resolution to save money, can cause you to obsess.  Maybe your obsession causes you to not treat your friend to lunch or buy that soft pliable toilet paper your husband loves.  It can cause true barriers in your relationships with people.  What does God's word say about saving money? Spending money?  Being kind to others?  Compassionate towards the needy? Etc….

So what am I doing since I don't have a New Year's Resolution?
1. I am making "mental notes".  In the next week or so, you will see my "mental notes" on health, spending, my spiritual life, my husband, my children, my family, my friends, etc…..  These are areas where I can see improvement is needed, but the change will have to come in stages or I will fail.  

2. Pray.  I plan to ask God to show me where I need to improve.

3. Ask questions. My husband, my children, and my closest friends know me well.  I can ask them if there's areas in my life that affect them or our relationships. This will help me to grow.

4. Be thankful. Everyday is a new day.  The Lord is working on me daily throughout the year. I should be thankful that HE gives me the willingness and desire to see my faults.

5. Be specific AND realistic rather than abstract AND impractical .  Saying, "I plan to be a better mom by not doing housework until my children go to bed at night!" is INSANE to me. It's so abstract and impractical. Instead I should say, "I desire for my relationships with my children to grow.  I want to make a vow to do ONE thing, each day, individually with my children." NOW that's specific and realistic.  

6. Ask for help! I love having an accountability partner.  I have a 5 great accountability partners with the possibility of 2 or 3 more as well.  Announce your thoughts or mental notes to them.  Ask them to check in with you from time to time.  

Just my thoughts on New Year's Resolutions :) File them in your "to be saved" box or press delete.  I won't be offended if you do.
Minor Changes Can Have a Major Impact!!!!