Posts tagged ‘Breaking Habits’

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!

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Three Level’s of New Year’s Resolutions

Many of us are making New Year’s resolutions. Basically, all we’re doing is making a choice to do something different in 2011 than what we’ve been doing 2010. Many times we find ourselves reverting back to our 2010 ways before the end of the first week of 2011! Sometimes that’s not a big deal. But other times, it makes all the difference in the world—this one and the next!

I believe, there are three levels of choices or resolutions that we make. The first level is made up of simple and, for the most part, neutral preferences or options. It’s called:

Insignificant Choices

  1. To quit drinking coffee and only drink green tea
  2. To finally schedule time to paint that spare bedroom
  3. To join a book club

The second level of choices/resolutions that we make goes a bit deeper. These involve more important choices and tasks, but they only reap physical rewards. This level is called:

Significant Choices

  1. To work-out regularly instead of using that time to catch some extra zzz’s
  2. To commit to moderating or improving our diets instead of indulging
  3. To improve the organization of our houses instead of burying our heads in a massive pile of laundry

The third and final level is the most important and has lasting, even eternal, implications. It is called:

Eternal or Missional Choices

  1. To make ourselves accountable to trusted friends instead of keeping things only between us and God
  2. To control our negative thoughts instead of being controlled by our greed, lust, jealousy, anger, and/or fear
  3. To practice patience in the mundane challenges of each day instead of feeling entitled to let our anger boil
  4. To make time to listen actively to our spouses/kids instead of listening like a couch potato to the television
  5. To face our fear by sharing our faith instead of wasting our days stuck in our “comfort zone”

Although this list is not all inclusive, I believe that these “Eternal or Missional Choices” either draw us closer to God’s mission for our lives or further away. There is no middle ground—no happy medium. We must be either choosing to do them or we will be missing our calling as Christ-followers.

Not convinced? Here’s some of what Jesus has to say on the subject:

“No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.” Luke 9:62 (MSG)

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3:15-16 (NIV)

Okay, okay, I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty as charged!

I want to accept Jesus’ challenge to pursue a higher calling every single day of the year–not just in January! Are you with me?

For those who are interested in learning more about the eternal impact of our choices, check out this past weekend’s message at Metro Community Church.