January has come and gone! But how many of you are still sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions?
Did you know that only 8% of people actually stick to their New Year’s Resolutions? This year, I decided not to make New Year’s “Resolutions” but to write down specific goals that I want to achieve and how I want to go about achieving them. You may ask – isn’t that the same thing as a resolution?
Not necessarily – typical resolutions are, “I want to lose x number of pounds this year” or “I will stop smoking this year” or “I will go to church this year.” Resolutions are simple goals and most of the time it stops there. There is no plan of action or accountability.
Now that we are in the month of February – I want to challenge you to be more realistic and actionable with setting goals. For example:
WEIGHT LOSS: If your plan is to lose x number of pounds – start with short-term expectations such as, “my goal is to lose 1-2 pounds each week.” Then, determine how you plan to lose 1-2 pounds each week. Could you walk during your lunch break to incorporate activity in your daily life? Could you eliminate soda and switch to flavored seltzer water? Lastly, determine how you will hold yourself accountable to achieving your goal of 1-2 pounds each week. Find a buddy that you can weigh in with or join a weight loss program or group.
SPIRITUAL GOALS: Did you plan to read your Bible more or pray more this year? Start with one scripture per day and find a Bible that works for you. Many people aren’t used to the King James Version because of the “thou” and “thus” and that is okay. If New International Version or New Living Translation is easier to understand, then choose that version. Consider purchasing a study Bible that will enhance your understanding of each verse. One thing that I do, is in the morning before I do anything else, I read one Chapter to start my day.
FINANCIAL GOALS: This is one of my favorite areas. Every year, I plan out our budget using a simple spreadsheet I create with Microsoft Excel. We list out our expenses after tithes are paid and after we pay ourselves through savings. Then, I write out a plan to tackle any remaining debt one month at a time. AND, we stick to it by going back and reviewing the spreadsheet each month to ensure that we are on track. I guess, you can call me a penny-pincher or at least a penny-watcher, because I also enjoy investing. But, it pays off! Last year, when we sat down with our attorney to do our estate planning, we realized just how blessed we really are because of diligence in planning, saving, and investing!
So, if you weren’t successful with your New Year’s Resolutions, now is the time to begin again by following these Biblical Principles:
PUT GOD FIRST: “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” – Psalm 37:5, ESV
Plans do not work unless God is in it! Pray about your goals to ensure that it’s in line with God’s plans for you and your life. For example, you may want to start a business but God may want you to focus on an area of ministry or charity. If you trust God’s direction, He will open doors and line up everything so that you can accomplish your goals!
WRITE IT DOWN: “And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” – Habakkuk 2:2, ESV
Write your goal & plan down in a Journal, on poster board in your office or bedroom, or create a vision board and make sure you refer to it frequently.
PLAN: “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?” – Luke 14:28-31, ESV
Resolutions fail because there is no plan behind it. In order to achieve goals, you have to develop a plan that you can stick to – make sure it’s attainable, and you have achievable steps to accomplish your goal.
SEEK COUNSEL: “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22, ESV
Sometimes, you have to seek assistance and this is not a sign of weakness at all. You may need to join a weight loss support group, find a friend that you can do Bible Studies with or find a financial planner or go to your local library to find books and other free resources.
REMAIN CONFIDENT: “Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” – Hebrews 10:35-36, ESV
Don’t give up! Along the way, you may run into obstacles or set backs. Trust in God, trust in your plan, and remain focused on your goal!