It’s the new year: that special time we all feel obligated to make resolutions to radically change our lives in what are probably much-needed ways.
But if you’re like most people, what starts as a die-hard all-in commitment usually loses its steam by mid January. For most of us, our resolutions rarely amount to much.
But this could be your year.
We’re going to change all that in 2018! And no, I’m not going to give you inspirational motivations or better strategies to discipline yourself. This year, I want to invite you to join me in lowering the bar a bit. Based upon our past experiences, I’m going to suggest a few reasonable targets that we might actually hit. With that in mind, I give you...
Eight (Realistic) Resolutions for People Who Hate New Year's Resolutions
1. Join a Gym.
Note that the goal is to “join a gym.” Don’t set yourself up for failure by committing to actually going to the gym. Let’s face it, lifting heavy object is dangerous and sweating in front of other people is icky.
2. Read Through the Bible.
Actually, make it your goal to read through Genesis and Exodus and then to stop when you get about three chapters into Leviticus. You won’t be the first person in history to lose steam at that point.
3. Keep a Journal.
Make it your goal to fill up an entire notebook with your thoughts and reflections. To make this goal attainable, get a journal that is no bigger than 2X3 inches.
4. Lose 15 Pounds.
First, you need to establish your starting weight. To do this, put on your old Doc Martens boots and a sweat suit soaked in water. Add your heaviest winter coat and fill all the pockets with rocks. Then get on the scale.
5. Get Organized.
It’s about time you got rid of those piles of clutter in your living room. You’ll be surprised at how quick and easy it is to relocate them to your bedroom.
6. Spend Less Time on Social Media.
Really? You think you can actually do that? You’re absolutely adorable!
7. Get Out of Debt.
Seriously, this would be probably good for all of us. Here’s a great piece of advice found in a classic Saturday Night Live sketch.
8. Stop Procrastinating.
I would highly recommend putting this off until later in the year.
Make these resolutions (with the included caveats) and you’ll be well on your way to reaching your goals in 2018! Sadly, your life won’t be much better, but you won’t feel the utter disappointment of failing, once again, to follow through.
Perhaps There’s Another Key to Self-Improvement
Here’s an honest truth: conviction, hard work, and determination are rarely enough to bring about lasting change in our lives. They’re important, but they inadequate.
Think about it. How many times have you said things like this:
Nothing will stop me from making this change.
I’m really going to do it this time.
I’m never going to do that (sin) again.
How many times was that declaration of commitment enough to truly change things? Very few. If you’re like most people, good intentions aren’t enough.
We don’t need more determination but more help from outside of ourselves. When we feel convicted to see significant change in our lives, our habits, or our relationships, the best place we can start is by crying out to God for help.
Lasting and deep-down change begins by us getting to the end of ourselves and making a prayer like this one our way of life:
“God, I absolutely don’t have what it takes to pull this off. I’m tried of trying in my own strength. Would You please help me? I’m desperate. Would You do something in me that is way beyond my aptitude? Father, fill me with your Spirit so I can do the things that my flesh is unable to do. Give me a hunger for your Word, and show me there what it looks like to be who You have called me to be? Lead me to people who will guide and support and encourage me along this journey? I’m so needy for You. Nothing good will happen in my life unless You show up. So please, Lord, show up.”
Don’t make a New Year’s resolution this year (especially an unrealistic one) unless it is fully rooted in God’s strength and will. And instead of crying out to Him when you get desperate, start things off by realizing at the beginning of everything, just how fundamentally desperate you truly are.
God wants to change you and make you more like Jesus. He wants to give you a life filled with joy and purpose. May that be true not just on January 1, but throughout all of 2018.