Did you know that the average person makes the same New Year’s resolution 10 times?
That’s a lot of hopes dashed and discouragement along the way. But I get it. I’ve been there myself.
The turning point for me came when I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal the lies I was believing and the areas of sin that were holding me back from experiencing the bountiful life that Jesus promised. It was only after a period of soul searching and prayer that I actually began to be more disciplined in my Bible reading, eating, exercising, and organizing.
Here are some of the questions I used to guide my prayerful deliberation. I hope they encourage you to make this year the turning point of your life:
1. Why do I want to achieve this goal?
We probably all want better health, better finances, better relationships, and a better walk with Jesus. But that’s only scratching the surface. Spend some time thinking about the deeper reasons that makes this goal important for you.
As you think about losing weight, perhaps you’ll realize that what you really want is to stop sitting on the sidelines when your kids play tag. You want to be more actively involved with your kids, to make memories together, and to share special moments that you’ll all look back on with fondness. Figure out your core desires and see how your habitual resolutions tie to them. You’ll be more motivated to keep your resolutions.
2. What will I have to sacrifice to accomplish this goal?
“No good thing comes easily,” the old adage goes, and it’s true. If we want to experience progress in our lives, we will have to sacrifice things to get there.
Be realistic about what it’s going to take to see your dream come true. If you’re training for a half-marathon, you may have to give up watching Netflix for a season, or suspend your Saturday morning pancakes breakfasts with the family. It’s all a trade-off. Be deliberate about what you’re giving up and choose the better part.
3. What am I expecting this goal to accomplish for me?
Sometimes we can transform dreams into idols, and think that accomplishing this one goal will lead to our happily ever after. But even if you quit smoking, you’ll still need to figure out how to handle feelings of anxiety or anger. Don’t expect your accomplished dreams to save you from the reality of your life — only Jesus can save you.
4. Who will journey with me through this season?
No doubt about it — changing lifelong habits is HARD. And most people who have experienced success attribute it to their support group. So before you even begin, identify a core group of people who will support you along the way. Even better, look for someone who has the same goal as you and team up to keep each other accountable.
When I was in high school, a friend called me every morning for an entire semester to coax me out of my warm bed and straight to my Bible. This night owl experienced a spiritual growth and a deeper friendship as a result.
5. What is the next small step I need to take?
Instead of creating an elaborate plan for how you’ll fulfill your goal, simply identify the next small step you need to take. If you want to eat more healthy, try adopting one small new habit, like eating two servings of vegetables at every meal or only eating dessert when you’re in public to avoid private binges. Don’t try to change everything at once — work on one small habit at a time, and once you’ve mastered that, move on to the next one.
6. How does this contribute to my overall purpose in life?
By far the most effective strategy I’ve used to accomplish goals is to tie them into my life plan. If you know your purpose in life, then your resolutions and goals will naturally flow out of that purpose. This is a dynamic combination of vision and action, and leads to tremendous change that impacts not only you but all the people around you.
If you don’t yet know what your purpose is in life is, set aside 30 minutes to work through this guide and find out. I promise it will give you the clarity and direction you need to make goals that make sense, and make this year your best year yet.
Make this the year that you stop the 10x resolution habit and experience growth and momentum in your life as you pursue the purposes God created you for. He will be faithful to complete the good work that He has started in and through you.