Although there is nothing Scripturally mandatory about making New Year’s resolutions, there are plenty of verses that encourage us to “consider [our] ways and be wise.”
There are two questions I ask myself especially at this time of the year:
- “Would the Lord think I started 2013 strong, lived faithfully, and finished strong?” and
- “How does He want all of me this coming year?”
Then I sit down from time to time over the course of three or four days with my Bible, my journal, and a prayerful heart and just listen to the Lord. These are precious times of personal encouragement from God. He strengthens my resolve to live daily in His love and with His love.
Here are a few simple practical ways to start, continue, and end the year strong.
1. Plan your goals according to your roles.
Start by making a list of your roles. Your roles may include some of the following: daughter of the King, wife, mother, church member, teacher, daughter, roommate, fiancé, household manager, friend, sister, student, employer, employee, nursery worker, aunt, grandmother, neighbor, etc.
Now, prioritize your roles in order of greatest importance to least important. Consider that all roles are important to God, but not all roles are created equal.
For instance, my friendship with God must be much dearer and deeper than my friendship with my neighbor. Here’s another example. God expects me to prioritize my role as my husband’s helper over being helpful to a friend from church. Pray over the order of this list, as getting this right according to God”s opinion is key for satisfaction and success.
Now, list three to five tangible goals under each role.
For instance, Role of Mother:
- When my kids are doing wrong, I want to use the opportunity to get to the heart of the issue every time I tell my kids to stop.
- I want to teach my kids about finances this year.
- I want to be available to talk about life with my teenager this year.
Make sure your goal is focused on something you can control. I.e. I cannot make my child get the best grades in the class, but I can dictate that my child does his or her homework properly.
2. Evaluate your goals once a week for the year. This helps you finish as strong as you start!
Pick a place and time weekly to evaluate your goals. My favorite is right after my quiet time with the Lord on Tuesdays. (Moms with young children, think of a plan B. Plan A might be overtaken by chaos!)
Read your list of roles and goals. Pick the roles that need your immediate attention and think of practical ways to carry them out daily. For instance, if your goal under the role of household manager is to serve healthy meals, and you hit McDonalds three times the previous week, consider “why?” You may need to add specific goals for the week such as create a weekly menu, plan out a grocery shopping trip, and designate a food prep time. Maybe your goal as an employee is to show that your faith in Christ is real. Maybe something just came up, and everyone else is complaining. This is a great week to have the goal of smile and write a thank-you note.
We should do all of the above with GOD, by God, and for God. Otherwise, our efforts are vanity. Without God, the best we can do is produce something that makes us feel good or makes a few people think a bit higher of us for a few short moments. What emptiness. Instead of drawing on our own strength, comparing our successes to others”, or waiting for people around to notice our good efforts, let’s “[look] unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith” for example, approval, and strength.
Focusing on Christ and eternity will teach us both how to begin and end successfully in the eyes of a God Who is “impossible to please” “without faith.” And noticing the One Who “endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself” will strengthen us to persevere when we feel “faint” or “weary in [our] minds” (Hebrews 12:2-3, 6).
May 2014 be a year of deep satisfaction and true success for each one of us!