If you are like most people, you look forward to a new year. A new year represents a clean slate in a lot of ways. Obviously, everything doesn’t change automatically just because you hang a fresh calendar on the wall. But a new year usually brings new hope with it- and resolutions! Even if you didn’t formally write down some resolutions, you probably had some in your mind.

Resolutions can be very good things. They form a capsule for hope that this could be your best year ever. They embody the change you want to see happen or the progress you want to make.

Now it’s January 9th.  How are those resolutions going? If you are still like most people, you’ve already blown it on at least one of your resolutions. Maybe they’re all blown.

Why do you fail to achieve your resolutions? More importantly, how can you get results from them instead?

Here are a few thoughts on how you can turn failure into success and get results from your resolutions:

Reason for failure #1: Too many resolutions. Solution: Whittle them down to just a few, no more than 5-7. Have one for each area of life. For example, Family Life- Have one mandatory family activity every week where every one comes and participates. Marriage- Go on at least two dates a month, just us. Spiritual Life- Memorize a chapter of the Bible each quarter. Physical Life- Work out at least three times a week. You get the idea.  For each area, pick something that will really make a big difference but isn’t too overwhelming. You shouldn’t plan on going to the gym everyday if you haven’t been once in the last five years. At the same time, don’t make it so easy that it won’t change anything or that you would have done it anyway.

Reason for failure #2: Lack of real commitment. Solution: As humans we tend to over-commit. Realize that committing to too much is really committing to nothing. Pick meaningful things that you can build on and that will make a real difference in your life, your marriage, your work, etc. Pick something that will affect the areas that are most affecting everything else. For instance, if you have a weight problem it is going to affect your health, your marriage, and your work. Getting to a healthy weight will change your life in multiple areas. It’s better to commit to three areas that will make the most difference than ten that will make small differences.

Reason for failure #3: No plan to achieve your resolutions. Solution: The old saying goes something like “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Planning may not be your cup of tea, but resolutions won’t be met by chance and circumstance alone. Instead of just listing resolutions one after another, write one and then put a practical action plan to reach it. Write the necessary steps and put a deadline on items that are one time things. For example, if you are going to go to the gym three times a week, one step would be to join the gym (assuming you don’t currently belong). You action plan needs to include which gym and when you will have your membership in place. Do this for each part of your plan.

Now, take out your resolutions and look over them. Do they pass muster based on the principles above? If not, why not make some revisions now. Then go for it.

Perhaps you haven’t made any resolutions yet. Maybe you don’t see the point. If you applied these principles, wouldn’t it be worth a go? After all you still have 357 days to make this a great year.

Here’s to a fruitful 2019!

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