Posts tagged ‘Accountability’

5 Ways to Make Your Resolution Stick

It’s easy to make a New Years resolution. The tough part is being able to make it last. So I thought I’d offer a few suggestions that have worked for me.

1.  Commit your resolution to God to help you stay on track

Willpower, shm-illpower! There’s no human way to persevere in our own strength.  And I hate to disrupt the enthusiastic flow of your January juices, but no one is the Energizer Bunny either. Just remember:

“But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.” –Romans 7:17-19 (MSG)

And . . .

“No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.” –Matthew 19:26 (MSG)

2.  Put your commitment in writing

Write up a contract and sign it. Or make up a chart and post it where you are reminded daily of your goals. It may seem silly, but it really helps.

3.  Make your resolution measurable

This simply means you can’t say, “I want to lose ten pounds” without spelling out specific, concrete goals that help you reach your ultimate goal.

For example, you might want to eat healthier foods like lots of veggies and whole grains. You might want to cut out any sweets, fried foods and soft drinks from your diet. You might also include a specific exercise plan. All of these mini-concrete goals can help you to get to your ultimate goal. (So sorry for the food imagery in that last sentence. I hope I haven’t sent any of you dieters rushing out to Dairy Queen!)

4.  Seek accountability

This is simply another way to establish your commitment. You might commit to giving a daily update of your Facebook or Twitter status by posting your latest efforts. Or even better, you might enlist the help of a friend to ask you each day how you’re doing on your goals. I promise, if and when you do, you’ll be much more inclined to fend off any temptation to go rogue.

5.  If at first you don’t succeed . . .

Yes, we all blow it from time to time. Often this is when most resolutions go in the slush pile until the following January. But if you set out with the expectation that when you fail, you will “try, try again,” you’ll find that success is not far behind. After all, perseverance isn’t the absence of failures, it is the using of failures as stepping stones on your way to success!

The Truth of Our Problem

Are you friends or enemies with the truth in your life? Very often when we face trials or long-standing problems, we become enemies of the truth.  We feel that to know the truth is to know pain.

But when we make truth our enemy, we invite denial into our lives—which only makes our situation worse and more painful. And in order to find our way through our problem . . .

We need to make the truth our friend, not our enemy.

You may not know if you’re friends or your enemies with the truth, but if you continue to feel worse over time, you’re probably buddying up with a lie or two.

So I’ve compiled a list of ways that people make truth their enemy. Check to see if you are doing any that are on the list.

Ways you make truth your enemy:

  • Stuff your feelings
  • Avoid admitting your fault
  • Look to false escapes from your pain—drinking, shopping, television, internet, etc.
  • Isolate from true accountability
  • Avoid reading the Bible or praying
  • Reject God’s promises
  • Focus on your problem rather than on your Problem-Solver (God)

If you are doing some of the list above, then consider making an effort to put into practice the following list:

Ways to make truth your friend:

  • Become aware of your feelings at any given moment, but especially when you are hurting.
  • Confess your feelings and thoughts to God moment by moment.
  • Ask God to speak to you about your feelings and your problem; then listen.
  • Read and meditate on what the Bible has to say about your feelings/situation.
  • Find a trusted friend to talk to about your feelings on a regular basis.
  • Practice telling those who are involved how you feel (when you can say it in a respectful way).
  • Quit playing God and surrender your problem to Him.

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Is Venting Your Anger Unhealthy?

Have you ever had an infestation of ants or roaches or . . . what about those dreaded bed bugs? Yuck! I hope not! But if you have, then you know that those little buggers can find the smallest places to hide or invade. And you wouldn’t try to get rid of them by locking all your doors and windows, would you? Of course, not!

Unfortunately, anger manifests in our hearts and minds very much like an infestation of bugs. When that happens, we may try to ignore our anger or lock it down tight. That won’t work for real bugs, so why do we think it will work with our anger?

Unless we squash or exterminate our anger directly, it will find a way out—either through our actions, words, or unfortunately, through physical or psychological problems. That explains why venting is often the first line of defense we turn to in order to get rid of this “bug.” But if we do that in a destructive way, it’s sort of like burning our house down to kill a few cockroaches!

I believe there are some misconceptions about what venting may involve. So if by venting you mean you are criticizing and degrading whomever you are angry with (to them or to others), then venting is absolutely destructive. But if by venting you mean you are simply looking for an outlet to respectfully process your anger with a positive purpose in mind, then I’m all for it!

We all, from time to time, need to process our angry feelings with at least God, but also with a trusted friend, and sometimes even with a trained counselor. BTW, the idea of meeting with a friend to process anger should not be to gossip or indulge in a gripe session. It is about finding a safe, confidential place to express our hurt and disappointment with the goal of gaining perspective in order to better respond to the one who offended us.

In my experience (because I am very prone to self-deception), God has used many a truth-telling friend to help me see how I’ve been thinking wrong. I thank God for those Divine moments, because God is using someone to help me to turn from my sin and face my responsibility. When I do that, I am doing the “One anothers” of the Bible like, “Carry one another’s burdens . . .” (Gal. 6:2a HCSB)

Venting or dumping our anger can be unhealthy, but we all need to find healthy outlets or we’ll just end up, as my late father used to say, “With ants in our pants!”

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