In my opinion, New Year’s resolutions get a bad rap. Sure, January 1st is, in truth, just another day on a calendar. It might seem a bit much that a simple date change elicits such widespread motivation to achieve goals, become better versions of ourselves, or try new things. But that’s like saying, “It’s Christmas, and because everyone gives gifts on Christmas, I refuse to.” You can stand in defiance against the norms of Christmas time, but in the end, you will likely be compared to Scrooge or The Grinch, and more importantly miss out on the spirit of the season.
New Years’ resolutions deserve a fair chance this 2018, not out of a loyalty to tradition or a romanticized view of the future, but out of a belief in progress… and to be more specific, a belief in your own progress.
Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you pay off those student loans? Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you read the Bible daily? Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you give back and volunteer your time where it is needed? Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you get that promotion? Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you get more connected at your local church? Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you develop healthy and flourishing friendships? Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you lose those 20lbs? Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you go back to school and get that degree? Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you travel to far-away places and make once-in-a-lifetime memories? Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you learn how to cook? Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you overcome the unresolved hurt from your past? Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you develop the leadership gifts within you? Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you become an avid reader? Why shouldn’t 2018 be the year you write the book or start the blog or open the business?
Sure, New Year’s resolutions get made and broken every year. We all know how crowded the gym is on Jan 2nd compared to Feb 2nd. But your story can be different. And your dreams are worth pursuing…
I have a friend who recently told me over coffee that she read over 50 books in 2017. That’s a lot of books. When I asked her how she became such an avid reader, she told me that a friend of hers had made a new year’s resolution a couple years back to read a book a week. My friend said, “I decided if she could do it, then I could do it too.”
Another friend of my decided last year that she was going to finally launch the podcast she had dreamed about for years. It’s a new favorite of mine, and I couldn’t be more proud of her for not only achieving her dream but inspiring so many others in the process. To check out her podcast, click here.
I have another friend who stopped taking care of herself physically after a difficult couple of years. Last year she decided she wasn’t going to allow her circumstances to determine her health anymore. She got a nutrition plan, a workout plan, and a coach. She’s not yet at her target health goals, but in one year she has made tremendous progress!
I love each of these women, and their achievements are astounding. But none of these women are much different from you and me. They too have full schedules, challenging circumstances, budgets to live by, and mental hurdles to overcome. The difference between these women and most women is simply their commitment to maximize their potential.
You are far more capable than you know. You have new adventures to live, new risks to take, new progress to make. The world needs you to not simply maintain your current status quo; the world needs you to brilliantly shine. Of course, setting goals and achieving them this year will be hard. Of course, it will cost you something. But you can do hard things. Don’t let your loyalty to comfort outweigh your commitment to progress. Make the New Year’s resolutions. Set the goals. Put together the plans and give it your all.
And while dreaming and scheming for 2018, here’s some tips on how to achieve your those goals this year:
- Pursue progress, not perfection. You will sleep in and miss the gym. You will at some point get behind on your reading. You will have a moment of weakness and splurge shop when you should be saving. DON’T QUIT. Just because you didn’t follow the plan perfectly one day, doesn’t mean you can’t achieve your goal. Give yourself some grace, and make the most of the next day. Refuse to tell yourself something is too hard, and remember to celebrate progress over perfection.
- Relationships are your greatest asset. Any goal worth achieving will never be achieved on your own. You need people in your corner to cheer you on, support you, hold you accountable and provide you with the practical wisdom you need to succeed. Find a gym buddy. Get a business mentor. Go to counseling. Join a small group at your church. Start a book club. Take someone you admire out to coffee and ask them questions that will help you gain wisdom to achieve your goals.
- Your goals should not stay top-secret. All too often, we keep our aspirations to ourselves because we are afraid of how we will look if we fail. Or we are so concerned about what others will think, that we keep quiet about our dreams trying not to rock the boat or ruffle a few feathers. Nelson Mandela put it best when he said, “As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” Own your story. Own your dreams. Own the struggles and the triumphs. Don’t let fear and insecurity keep you from shining. And when you boldly and fiercely go after your goals, you inadvertently invite others to do the same. Let your journey inspire others.
- Pray, and then pray some more. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Remember, friend, that God loves you, and that when you pursue Him above all else, He will give you the grace you need to see breakthrough in your life. Every day, choose to set aside a few minutes to pray- acknowledging your need for Jesus, inviting Him to teach you and guide your day, and asking Him to bless your plans for progress in miraculous ways.
So, what are your New Years’ Resolutions? Leave them in the comments below and let’s cheer each other on!