I used to make a New Year’s resolutions.
But over the last few years, I’ve started something…well, uh… NEW which I’ll share with you in a little while.
But first, did you know that 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions? Sadly only 8% are successful at keeping them, according to Statistic Brain Research Institute.
Why are so few of us successful at keeping our resolutions?
Psychology professor Peter Herman and his colleagues have identified that many make resolutions that are significantly unrealistic and out of alignment with their internal view of themselves. When you make positive affirmations about yourself that you don’t really believe, the positive affirmations not only don’t work, they can be damaging to your self-worth.
According to brain scientists, making resolutions involves changing behaviors—and in order to change a behavior, you have to change your thinking (or “rewire” your brain).
Interestingly, this lines up with what Christians have been reading from the Bible for centuries.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2
“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” Ephesians 4:22
CONSIDER DOING THESE THREE THINGS BEFORE MAKING A RESOLUTION:
1. Change the way you think
Making a resolution means that you want to change something—that you’re not satisfied with something. This can be a negative and discouraging pattern of thought.
The only way to make lasting change starts in how we think. We must exchange a negative for a positive (Ephesians 4:22-23). Psychologists say this is how to create new neural pathways in your brain in order to change habits.
A great exercise to begin creating positive thought patterns is to count your blessings.
Yes, I’m talking literally counting your blessings. Here’s how:
2. Make A Blessing And Personal Accomplishment List
I like to start each new year on a positive note. A great way to do this is by making a list of blessings and personal accomplishments. I write my blessings and accomplishments in my journal. It serves as a great reminder of how God is working in my life. You may want to check out a post I wrote that includes how to keep a prayer journal: https://beckielindsey16.com/2016/09/26/3-ways-to-fight-distractions-during-prayer/.
I cannot tell you how much keeping a prayer/blessing journal has helped my spiritual life. I also write out scriptures as well as what God is teaching me about the scriptures (I’ll be writing more about that in another article.)
I realize not everyone is the ‘writer’ type. However, I think if you’d give this a try, you will be blessed.
Here’s an example of a few things that I wrote in my journal:
I’m thankful for:
God’s daily grace, mercy, His Word, His Holy Spirit
Friends and church family
The United States of America
My husband’s health issues have improved
My health is good
My oldest son got married
I went to two writers conferences
I was published on websites, in my local newspaper, and magazines this year
I’ve finished the first edits on my YA novel
Finished the rough draft for the Bible study I’ve co-written
I lost five pounds and didn’t gain it back
Kept up with exercise 3-5 days a week
I have 3,482 readers on my blog (That’s YOU! I thank you for your support, dear readers)
What will your blessings and accomplishments list look like?
Once you’ve made your list of blessings and things accomplished throughout the year, pray for guidance on any new goals.
Doesn’t it make sense that we’d ask God before attempting a major life change like a resolution?
It pleased the Lord when Solomon asked for wisdom (1 Kings 3:7-14), and it pleases Him when we ask as well.
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” James 1:5
Finally, it’s important to remember we are not alone. We have God’s help to accomplish the goals that He has given us. In fact, God has given us all we need to live a godly life (2 Peter 1:3). His Spirit is at work within us, giving us new desires to do what pleases Him (Philippians 2:13), which make us more and more like His Son.
This should be our primary resolution: to be more like JESUS.
If being more like Jesus is our primary resolution, God will direct what that looks like in our individual lives in the new year.
WISHING YOU MANY BLESSINGS IN 2017!