The mistake many people make is to start thinking and working on their New Years resolutions in January, when in actual fact plans for the New Year are far more likely to succeed when we allow for extra thought and planning, and begin practicing in December.
That’s because starting our New Years resolutions in December is a deliberate choice for change, not an emotional response to a date. The reason many New Year resolutions fail is that people don’t put in enough effort to allow them to succeed. We need to give ourselves some preparation time for real change to occur, because the things we often resolve to want to change are usually things we see as failures in our lives, such as wanting to stop smoking or drinking, getting fitter, or being more serious about our relationships, studies or career.
Making resolutions early gives us time and space to start forming new habits without the pressure, emotion and hype of the New Year ticking over. We can start small and begin practicing what we want to put into place, which gives us a chance to modify our resolutions and make room for bigger or more permanent changes.
A helpful tip in making real change to our lives is to focus on positive goals rather than negative ones. Instead of looking at our failures and any negatives we want to stop doing, it’s much more effective to focus on a positive goal that we want to perform.
Our habits are memories of actions we perform in a particular situation. We can’t learn not to do something, so if we focus only on stopping behaviors, we will never develop new habits.
It’s also important to make realistic plans for what we want to change and to be specific about when and how that is going to happen. For example it’s not enough to say I want to exercise more. We need to pick specific days and add that to our daily routine.
God wants to help us succeed in life and to be the best version of ourselves we can be. He is there to help us, and it’s okay to call out to Him, “I need help with this,” because we were never meant to go through life doing it alone. God says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Often the exact space we run out of strength is where God is able to give us the most power and resolve because we discover how to lean on His immeasurable resources and strength instead of just our own.
As the year draws to a close determine to be kind to yourself; we all slip up and make mistakes from time to time. Choose to focus on the positive actions you want to make a part of your life, rather than the negative habits you want to stop doing.
Ask yourself, “What can I do today to improve my tomorrow?”
Every day, not year, is a chance to make things right and your future better.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends. His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Prayer: Lord thank you that every day is a fresh chance to begin again. Help me to see the amazing life you have planned for me, and then please give me the strength to walk in it. In Jesus name Amen.