31 Dec 2012, by Lim Poh Ann-
Ten reasons why we fail to keep our New Year’s resolutions.
It’s the time again when the topic of making New Year's resolutions inevitably crops up. Good intentions are commendable; we all want to start on a clean slate.
What are some of the positive things we want to see in our new persona in the coming year? We might want to exercise more to become fitter, lose weight, spend more time with our loved ones, improve ourselves professionally or reduce our debts substantially.
We might want to polish up our social skills so that we can make new friends – or perhaps find a mate. Spiritual goals might include reading the whole Bible, witnessing to our colleagues and getting rid of bitterness or hurt.
But we often get discouraged as we fail to keep our resolutions.
What are some of the reasons why we fail?
1. Failure to write it down our resolutions. It is definitely better to have our goals clearly written so that we know where we are heading. And be specific.
“Write the vision and make it plain” (Habakkuk 2:2).
2. Overambitious plans. If we want to have a muscular physique, we need to pump iron. But we should not raise our hopes too high – such as becoming like Arnold Schwarzenegger in one year.
3. Absence of a game plan. It’s not enough to tell ourselves we want to take charge of our health. We need to spell out the specifics: Run 1 to 2 km every other day, reduce weight by two kilos every month.
4. Failure to ask: How badly do we want to achieve those goals? From the outset, we have to ask ourselves concerning the level of our motivation. If we are truly desperate because we are broke, we have to be determined to make a success of our endeavour, no matter what it takes. The hunger of a labourer drives him on (Proverbs 16:26).
The laborer's appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on.
5. Failure to monitor progress. After a rocket is launched into space, the space centre monitors its trajectory. If it strays from the intended course, mid-course correction is taken. Similarly, we have to check our progress along the way and undertake remedial steps so that, come end of the year, we don’t feel we’re a total failure.
6. Unwillingness to die to self. Nothing worthwhile in life is achieved without effort. Salvation may be free – by faith. But later it costs us everything (Luke 9:23).
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
7. Lack of willpower. Our mentor, trusted friend or spouse – if we’re married – may help us as accountability partners if we find we don’t have sufficient willpower to succeed.
8. Failure to reward ourselves for progress. Do not be too harsh on ourselves. We need to reward ourselves with an occasional buffet treat once we have slimmed down to the desired level.
9. Lack of tools and knowledge. If we want to complete the Bible in one year, we can follow the many Bible study plans available at no cost. Reading motivational books or enrolling in a motivational course might help. Don’t be destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).
my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.
10. Weariness. Nobody can plod on for extended periods without rest and recreation. They that wait upon God shall renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31). So whether our preference is the seaside or the hills, we need to take a break to ramp up our spiritual reserves before we can reach our goals.
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
What happens if we have taken all the above steps into account and yet fail to keep our resolutions?
Take it easy. The apostle Peter resolved to follow Jesus under all circumstances but he denied his Lord three times. Yet God gave him another chance: “Feed my sheep.” He later became the apostle to the Jews and ushered multitudes into the kingdom at Pentecost.
Stumbling is not to be equated to falling:
The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand.