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10 Tips For Your Resolutions - Eddie Smith

Whether you make New Years resolutions or not, I hope you'll benefit from this article.

 10 Tips For Your Resolutions

Eddie Smith

 

Can you believe it? It's almost 2013! What in the world happened to 2012? Some of us are on Christmas vacations visiting loved ones. Others’ homes are packed with loved ones and their suitcases. Most are probably still trying to finish off the pies, cakes and cookies from Christmas! Alice and I are at home in Houston recovering from Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. We enjoyed a fun day with most of our children and grandchildren on the 24th. It’s increasingly harder by the year to get everyone together on the same day. Now it’s on to 2013.

 

New Years is typically thought of as a time for renewed hope. At this time of the year most of us focus on new goals and opportunities. Perhaps like us, you are praying for and looking for God’s direction in the new year. If so, let’s continue to trust Him faithfully and do what is at hand. We should never open the door to worry. Worry is calling into question God’s integrity; or as our sweet friend, the late Zig Ziglar would say: “It’s paying interest on a bill that’s not yet due.” Truth is that very little of what most of us worry about ever comes to pass. Likewise, let’s not become so focused on the future that we lose sight of the present opportunities that we have. Instead, let’s take the next step that the Lord places in front of us, no matter how insignificant it may seem at the moment.

 

New Years is an exciting time for all! The custom of celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of another is celebrated around the world, and goes back thousands of years into the Roman and Babylonian times. People ring in the new year with lots of noise and fun. Unfortunately, in many cases, it’s also accompanied by drunkenness. Perhaps the most obvious celebrations to those of us who live in the U.S. are the local celebrations in our towns; the watch night New Years Eve services in our churches; and the celebration which is televised from New York’s Times Square each year.

 

New Years Day is possibly the most celebrated holiday in the world. Here in the U.S., there are many locally- and nationally-televised New Years Day parades. When I lived in Hollywood, California in the 1960s I remember how my neighbors would take their sleeping bags to sleep on the streets in Pasadena to secure a good spot from which to watch the Rose Bowl Parade. I like football and parades. But I don’t love them enough to exchange my warm bed for a night on the sidewalk! 

 

Many people believe that eating a lucky food on New Years Day is the key to a Happy New Year. While Alice and I will eat black eyed peas and cornbread on New Years Day, which is customary here in the South, we won’t do it for luck. Our steps are ordered by the Lord, not “luck.” <smile> We’ll do it because it’s absolutely delicious!

 

One New Years tradition is the making of resolutions. I never believed much in New Years Resolutions. My New Years Resolution was usually NOT to make any New Years Resolutions. But I admit that it does offer a good opportunity to pause and reflect on our lives. That tradition dates back to the early Babylonians who some believe made New Year's resolutions as promises made to the gods, like bargaining in hope that the gods would grant some favor in return, like a good harvest. Not surprisingly then it was also believed that to break a New Years resolution brought bad luck. 

 

The Bible doesn’t speak for or against the concept of New Years resolutions. But it does encourage us to examine ourselves. And gives us many “to dos.” But as we all know, making New Years resolutions is only one half of the battle. Keeping the ones we make is the hard part. Christian researcher, George Barna and his Barna Group, report that 30% of those who make resolutions resolve to improve their health. That’s certainly a worthy goal, since we are stewards of our own bodies. However, we’re told that only 46% of those who make resolutions actually stick with them after six months. 

 

However, if you are inclined to make some resolutions this year, I’d like to offer 10 suggestions.

  1. Most resolutions are based on little more than wishful thinking. Ask the Lord to lead you in the matter. He offers His strength to that which He initiates.
  2. Don’t set goals out of emotion or ego; or emulate others. Pick realistic goals, things that you feel equipped to achieve.
  3. Don’t allow discouragement from any failure to reach last year’s goals dissuade you from setting goals this year.
  4. Don’t pick too many goals. That only indicates a lack of priorities.
  5. Be flexible. Life is about balance. These aren’t laws. Be willing to adjust along the way. Goals that increase your stress to unhealthy levels are not good, even if you are able to accomplish them.
  6. “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” Break larger goals into smaller goals. Remember what Jesus said in Luke 14:28 about how a man who builds a tower should first sit down and estimate the cost. 
  7. Don’t select vague, uninspiring goals. Be specific. It’s not about “losing weight.” It’s about “weighing 15 pounds less by March 1st.”
  8. Write your resolutions down and keep them where you can see them. The resolutions we keep and goals we achieve are those that become habitual.
  9. Don’t think that New Years is the only time you can make resolutions. Every day is a day that the Lord has made (Psa 118:24). Rejoice and be glad in it and make it count for His glory!
  10. Consider God’s ultimate purpose. He wants to conform us into the image of His Son, Jesus. (Rom 12:1-2) So, perhaps a good place to start would be with the “the fruit of the (Holy) Spirit,” which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance and faith. Give yourself a grade for each of these. Which one(s) need improvement? If in doubt, ask someone who knows and loves you enough to help. What are some resolutions you might make to reinforce that/those part(s) of your life?  

 

Finally, make your resolution commitments to yourself. Always be careful and take your vows to God much more seriously. Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 tells us:  When you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfill it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfill your vow. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.”

Enjoy an abundant 2013!

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Comment by Dr. Charles Hughes on December 30, 2012 at 9:39pm
Lord , I will continue to make the Psalms a major portion of my life . I will begin to plan 3-4pm , m-f , for praying through / and memorizing Psalm 119 . I will ,use the Prayer Journey Bible , Towns . ( Destiny )
Comment by Lynette DuPree on December 29, 2012 at 9:33pm
Thank you. Great suggestions. I plan to start working on improving in my life the fruits of The Holy Spirit.
Comment by Paula Gast on December 29, 2012 at 10:20am
Thank you. I've been reading One Perfect Word by Debbie Macomber and praying for direction. Now, this helps me put teeth into the process. God bless you
Comment by Paul Walker on December 28, 2012 at 10:19am

Great post. I'm going to adapt this for a sermon for this coming Sunday :)

Thanks for sharing

Comment by Dawn Paoletta on December 28, 2012 at 10:10am

Excellent advice and wisdom shared. Thank you!

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