Happy New Year!
Any big plans for this year? How about resolutions?
This is always a time of reflection…what went well this past year? What didn’t? What do I like about the status of my life? What do I want to change? That’s usually where the impetus for resolutions comes from—our dissatisfaction.
Can I tell you a secret? As a psychologist, I’m not a big fan of resolutions. I don’t make them myself.
Typically, if something is important enough to us to change, we would…without the push of something as grand as a New Year’s resolution. Most New Year’s resolutions are made based on emotion and without great planning or forethought. That’s why they fail.
You know the kind: I’m going to stop drinking caffeinated coffee…then New Year’s day roles around and celebrating too late the night before makes it hard to get up and stay away for your shift at work the next day, and the pot of coffee is drunk before you hardly remember your resolution.
Now don’t get me wrong-I think change is good.
For example: Choosing to make it a priority to eat healthier will stand a greater chance of being successful than deciding to avoid all sweets (all caffeine, all anything for that matter). Why? Because as humans we desire choices. We dislike restriction. And the more we tell ourselves we can’t do or have something, the more we desire it.
For example: Deciding to lose 10 pounds may be an appropriate goal if your physician has indicated this will likely lower your blood pressure and lower your risk of a fatal stroke or heart attack so that you will be around to see your children graduate from high school. In that case, the motivation may be great enough to help you stick to your goal – especially if you lost a parent at a young age.
Whereas deciding to lose 10 pounds so you will look good at your high school reunion may help you lose the weight in the short term to prepare for the reunion, but will not likely help you keep the weight off if you don’t address the reality that the reason you feel the need to lose the weight is because you have a fear of others’ opinions and your self-esteem isn’t healthy enough to allow you to be confident in yourself regardless of what others think.
3. Take the time to plan.
We rarely experience satisfaction from our efforts if we haven’t taken the time to plan. It is important to determine first, what would “success” look like? Second, what steps will we take to reach our goal? Third, who will we be accountable to? And lastly, how will we celebrate when we reach our goal?
4. Hold loosely to your plans. As humans, we have a very limited view of our current existence and our future.
(“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps” Proverbs 16:9 NLT).
It is my hope that as you reflect on 2014 and plan for 2015, that you will attend to lifestyle management after determining the root of any discontent, then take the time to make a plan, but hold your plans loosely as you let God ultimately direct your steps!