“Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3, NLT)
Did you know that, according to a recent study, even though 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, only 8% are successful in achieving those resolutions? (Source)
The beginning of a new year is always exciting—a new year means a new beginning, a new chance, a time to start over. Unfortunately, it seems that most of us are overreaching as far as resolutions are concerned. How can we make sure our New Year’s ambition doesn’t fade by February 1?
The most popular New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight, to get organized, and to save more money. Whether one (or more) of these are on your list or you have another large goal, you can succeed by using these three steps to cut that goal down to size.
- Focus: Pray about your goal and listen for God’s guidance. This will help you narrow down your huge resolution to one specific, easy-to-focus-on aspect. Making your goal something concrete like “I want to lose 20 pounds,” “I want to save $1,000 this year,” or “I want to run a marathon in November” will give you a clear idea of how you need to progress. After you’ve named your goal, it will look much more attainable.
- Plan: Once you have that clear goal in mind, you can set smaller benchmarks along the way. Think of any obstacles you might face and strategize a way to get around them (for example, if you’re trying to lose weight but can’t resist ice cream, try some healthier substitutes like homemade smoothies or frozen Greek yogurt.) Do you know anyone who’s accomplished this goal, and how they went about it? Build in some small rewards along the way to help motivate you to achieve your benchmarks (like treating yourself to a massage or other fun experience—that may motivate you more effectively than a quickly-consumed edible treat.)
- Do What It Takes: Read about how to accomplish your goal. Will you need special supplies (like running shoes or a scale)? If you can get a friend or family member involved, either as a partner in the goal (for instance, running with you every morning or shopping with you to help you avoid impulse purchases) or just as someone to talk about your goal with and to be accountable to, you will be much more likely to succeed.
Whether your goal is to spend more wisely, to save more money, to eat more healthily, or simply to enjoy life more, approaching it prayerfully and with a humble heart will help you to get there. You’ll be on your way to living a fuller, more purposeful life not just at the start of the New Year, but all year through—and that’s a goal everyone can get excited about.
This article should not be considered legal, tax, or financial advice. You may wish to consult a tax or financial advisor about your individual financial situation.