NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS AND WHY IT’S WISE TO MAKE THEM
It’s not too late to make some New Year’s resolutions. Have you thought about, and written down, any specific resolutions or goals for this New Year? If not, why not? If it’s because you just haven’t thought about it, Perhaps it’s time to think about it and do something about it. We’re only a couple of days into the New Year and it’s not too late to do something that could dramatically impact the rest of your year and your whole life for the good.
What Kind of Resolutions?
Your resolutions should fall under specific categories. They can be spiritual – read and memorize so much of the Bible daily, develop a disciplined daily prayer time, etc. They can be physical – lose a certain amount of weight, get stronger, exercise regularly, etc. They can be personal in terms of your developing a better personality, etc. They can concern relationships with your family in terms of time spent with them, scheduled activities, vacations, etc. If you are conscious of areas where your marriage can be improved o set some goals where you can step by step throughout the New Year, make your marriage better. The same goes for parents who want a better relationship with their children, and children who know they need to improve relationships with their parents. Your New Year’s resolutions can be educational – get a degree, a certificate of accomplishment, learn a language or how to play an instrument, read certain books, etc. Resolutions can be occupational – get a certain job, promotion or attain a certain salary level.
Your New Years Resolutions can include a better management of your time, the quitting of a bad habit, being more punctual in your appointments (especially those related to your church). And, speaking of church, make sure you resolve not to miss any of the tremendous opportunities offered, especially the preaching services and the Bible study classes offered each week.
Of course you want to make sure that all of your resolutions are pleasing to God. It’s important also to make sure that they are yours and not goals that someone else has set for you. This way you can take ownership of them and personal responsibility for their accomplishment.
Once you have your New Year’s resolutions in mind, set a realistic time for the accomplishment of each of them and then map out a clear track to run on day by day in order to reach them. Then do one other very, very, important thing. Write them out. Do this with the understanding that the connection between written goals and success in reaching goals has been proven again and again.
In 1979, a professional study conducted by one of the nation’s leading universities concluded that 84% of the students in an MBA graduating class had no specific goals for either their immediate or distant future; 13% did have goals, but only in their minds, and not committed to writing. Only 3% of them had not only formulated their goals in their minds, but had also put them in writing. After carefully tracking the progress of all of these students, it was discovered ten years later, that the 13% who at least had goals in mind had become twice as successful in business as the 84% who’d had no goals in mind. The 3% who had written their goals out however, had had ten times more measurable success than all of the other 97% put together. Similar studies have been conducted since this one, all with the same conclusion. Put your goal-reaching ability on steroids by writing them down.
Written goals not only help you plan your work; they help you work your plan. With them written out, you can revisit them daily and tweak and adjust them as needed. You can read your goals after you get up in the morning and before you go to bed at night. You can include them in your prayers, remind yourself of them, and re-fire your passion for reaching them.
Get’em in Your Heart
Interesting, dynamic, principles are set forth by way of numerous illustrations in the Bible relative to the setting and reaching of personal goals. One of the best is the story of Daniel, went from being a prisoner of war in a hostile environment to becoming the second most powerful man in that nation. His story begins with the words: “But Daniel purposed in his heart“ (Dan. 1:9). Daniel “purposed in his heart” in terms of what he wanted and didn’t want for his life. ). All meaningful success begins with a purposing in the heart of the goal-setter.
Purpose in the heart like Daniel had, and like all achievers have, only exists and is only sustained where the goal-setter has clearly established why he wants to reach his goals. When the why of reaching a goal is big enough for a person to become passionate about it, the way to reach his goal will begin to be revealed to him; it will keep his desire to reach it burning and it will provide the direction and drive needed all along the way to his achievement of his goal.
There are Big Rewards for Goal Setters
Another thing illustrated in Daniel’s story is what I call the “Ten Times Better Principle.” Read chapter one. Daniel purposed something in his heart, had a time frame in mind for its accomplishment, and we’re told, within the context of all this, that the outcome for Daniel was “ten times better” than he had been before he purposed in his heart, that is, before he set the goal that he did. And, by the way, we’re also told that his friends were also ten times better because of what Daniel had done (vv. 19, 20).
Not only do people who set goals enjoy greater rewards in life, but they precipitate an overflow of blessing for others, near and dear to them and within their circle of influence. Just as there is collateral blessing associated with those who set good, godly goals, there is collateral damage in terms of blessings missed by others when people neglect to implement the principles of goal setting into their lives. Pastors, husbands and wives, and parents are at the top of the list of those who need to keep this in mind.
You have every reason to expect to be much better off, perhaps dramatically better off, by the end of this year if you make good, God honoring heartfelt resolutions for this year; resolutions that you have written down and followed through on with prayer and faith and sincere hard work. And you have every reason to expect others around you to be blessed because you have done what others, so unwisely, neglect to do.
I have seen the power of goal setting at work and the “Tenfold Principle” demonstrated over and over again throughout my life and in the lives of others, in different areas and at different levels in terms of church work, spiritual and physical health, family relationships and in business, etc. God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask of think according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph. 3:20), and He often does it where people are praying about and pursuing after the good things that they have purposed in their hearts.