During a New Year’s Day supper, the conversation moved to resolutions. My friend said she never makes resolutions. “Well, this year I made a goal. Ten pounds. I want to lose ten pounds.”

Another chimed in and said she has a hard time keeping her resolutions and is a member of the “resolution drop out club”.  She’s not alone. Eighty percent of new year’s resolutions fail by February.

The idea behind resolutions is making a promise to yourself to change. It might be to remove a habit such as spending less time sitting and watching TV. Or perhaps you want to learn a new skill. Like my friend who dropped out, many begin with enthusiasm and move to discouragement. Why?

Why do resolutions fail?

Sometimes they are not specific. What does “eating healthier” mean? On the other hand, limiting desserts to one a week is specific.

Resolutions are not the only way to encourage change. Setting a measurable and realistic goal is a way to track progress leading to change. Walking ten miles a week is easy to track—either we did, or we didn’t. Either we are building strength toward consistency or we aren’t. Reading the Bible through in a year is a goal many make. If you move the bookmark, you are making progress. It’s easy to see.

So as our conversation moved on, my friends shared their approaches to change:

  • One suggestion was to choose a meaningful Bible verse to put into practice throughout the year. (For example, Psalm 27:14 might be a verse to choose if you are going through a rough patch.)
  • Find a word to focus on throughout the year. Is it hope, peace, thankfulness, faithful?  DaySpring offers a short quiz to guide you in finding your word of the year.  
  • Write a summary of your month in your journal. What did my month hold? Did I put friendships on the back burner? Did my calendar show I was too busy? What did I learn about myself? Is there an activity I should eliminate? Are my priorities right?
  • Find a jar and slips of paper. When something positive happens that day, or if you were thankful for something, write in on a slip of paper. At the end of year, read through your notes. In her book, One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp opens our thinking to finding gratitude and joy in our ordinary surroundings. Your personal jar overflowing with slips of paper will be gifts.

Can you share and add to this list? We have 365 days to find treasures in 2019. How will you choose to dig for them? 

Happy New Year!

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