New Year, New You!

While everyday is a new opportunity to make changes that will bring you to a new level of spiritual, emotional and physical health, this is typically the time of year that people see is the best time to to create goals or “resolutions” that will serve them well as they strive to improve their lives.

The Bible has some encouraging words for those who choose to create New Years resolutions.

Here are a few that will serve you and I well as we continue through prayer and supplication to bring our bodies more in line with our Lord.

Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Psalm 51:10-11 ESV

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

Philippians 3:12-15 ESV

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.

James 4:13-17 ESV

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Proverbs 16:9 ESV

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Whether you would like to lose a little weight, improve your career, or spend more time reading the Bible and increasing your spiritual relationship with our Lord, the sad truth is that only 8% will be successful in your goals.

40% of Americans make New Years Resolutions.  When you compare that number with the fact that 1/3 of Americans will watch the next Superbowl, you can see that most of us have great intentions of improving ourselves.

So, why don’t more people achieve their resolutions? Is there some magic method to help us reach our goals?

Much research has been done on this and the simple answer is maybe.

From the research, here are a few suggestions to increase the likelihood that you will find your way to some form of self-improvement.

First, create goals.  To be clear: Simply setting a goal does raise your chances of achieving that goal, significantly.

But within weeks or months, people begin abandoning their resolutions as they hit bumps in the road that throw them off their stride.

Therefore, here are a couple of thoughts that you may want to consider as you begin to set your goals:

Create only a few goals – No more than 2 or 3. Maybe just one to start with if you haven’t been successful in the past.

  • Make the goals tangible quickly – Maybe break the goal into smaller pieces so it is easier to see progress. While the goal for the year might be to lose 20 pounds breaking it down into monthly milestones helps you to feel accomplishment after the 1st
  • Make the goals quantifiable – If you want to be closer to God, identify what being closer to God looks like to you but make it tangible. It might be to go on a mission trip; attend services 2 times a week, month or year; start attending or leading a Sunday School class; or read chapters of the Bible.

Other important considerations to improving your odds of attaining your goals:

Make your goals known to others.  With the advent of social media, it is easy to garner support and accountability.

Keep your goals visible. If your goal is to lose weight, take a picture of yourself when you were thinner and put it on the bathroom mirror, refrigerator door or car sun visor so you are reminded of it every day. Or, take a picture of those skinny clothes you want to get back into.

Finally, believe in yourself.  If you continue to place your goal as the high priority and it continues to inspire and motivate you, then the days will turn into weeks and your smaller goals will quickly be achieved which leads to encouragement and inspiration to continue.  Before you know it, months will pass, and your self-improvement will be obvious and you will have much to be proud of.

Interestingly,
75% of people tend to keep their resolutions for one week.
71% can keep them for two weeks.
64% can keep them for a month.
46% will have kept their resolutions after 6 months.

As John Norcross, of the University of Scranton says, “We say the glass is proverbial, half empty or half full…It’s true, most people fail. But 40-46% is still pretty impressive. Particularly when you compare it to the people who don’t even try.”

One thing that isn’t included in the research is our ability to pray and meditate to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He can transform the weakest heart with the faith of just a small mustard seed.  Meditate on one of the verses listed above.  Commit it to your heart.

As you strive to improve the health of your relationships or the health of your body, always run to the one who can create the greatest inspiration, break the chains of addiction, mend the fragile lines of communication and restore a wholeness to you that will leave you at the end of the year shouting Hallelujah!!

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