A fresh New Year has begun! It’s January, the time of year when many find it refreshing to look forward to the New Year and think of all the possibilities the future holds – and this fresh feeling is what has some people thinking about resolutions. Every year around this time we see lists on social media about what we all want to do different in the New Year, what we will and will not do, what we will achieve, how we will make this the best year ever!
Am I the only one who gets completely stressed out by this?
Most people find resolution season a time of inspiration to make positive changes in their lives, but I have to admit that the whole idea stresses me out more than inspires me – mostly because I know about two months down the road I’ll realize I have already failed in some way at each of my resolutions. But today, my friends, this is a guilt-free, stress-free zone, because I am going to share a few ways to let yourself off the resolution-making hook this year! Here we go.
1) Just don’t make resolutions.
I used to be a strict no-resolution kind of girl. In my mind I was just consistently setting myself up for failure, and as a firstborn who takes failure seriously, I’d rather not commit at all. The last couple years I bent my rules a bit to see what all the resolution fuss was about, and you guessed it – I failed at my resolutions. So this year I am cutting back on the resolutions again. The fact of the matter is, any day is a good day to make positive changes, and I find that any lasting improvements I have made have not been because of a New Year’s resolution. I like to keep in mind how I might want to improve without putting the pressure of a “resolution” and a deadline on those goals. This isn’t for everyone (some people really rock those New Year’s resolutions!), but if you find yourself discouraged whenever you don’t meet your resolutions, why not try skipping them this year and seeing what happens?
2) Pray before you commit to something (and say no more).
This goes for resolutions and just commitments in general throughout the year. I get myself in trouble most often when I don’t take time to ask the Lord what He thinks about one of my goals! Often after praying I realize that my reason for wanting to do something is not a good one, and that leads me to rethink what I’m spending my time on. And when you have prayed about something, and you are still in doubt? Just say no. This can be hard for a lot of women, me included – I have a people-pleasing tendency and want to say yes to everything! But sometimes I need to remember what my #1 task is during this season, and that is to take care of my family and be the best wife and mom I can be for them. If I weigh myself down with too much, it’s harder for me to do that. Sometimes it’s better to say no.
3) Remember there is a time for everything.
This goes along with the point above, because I think sometimes when we take on too much, it’s because we think the same opportunity may never be offered again. But that is not always true. I heard once that “opportunities have a way of coming back around”. Maybe you need to say no to something, but you are aching over the potential lost opportunity – all I can tell you is that I have found a lot of freedom in realizing that there is a time for everything (read Ecclesiastes 3), and if you have prayed about it and feel the Lord telling you that now is not the ideal time, it’s better to say no. Some opportunities may not come back around, but a lot of things do.
3) Indulge a little.
You know that phrase “everything in moderation”? I think that is a good thing to keep in mind during resolution season. It is too easy to want to make a radical turnaround in all your goal areas, to go all in, all at once…when sometimes you might see more progress if you take little steps. So maybe instead of saying you’ll cut every bit of sugar out of your diet or read a book a week (when you may barely have time to read a chapter now), try to keep your goals smaller and more manageable – and allow a little room to be flexible and indulge yourself when you need a break (examples: brownies on the weekend, and Netflix instead of a book in the evenings).
5) Let the Lord direct your steps.
This verse is something we should always keep in mind when making plans:
“A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
Friends, in your New Year, leave room for the Lord to direct your steps. Don’t hold so tightly on to your own plans that you miss His nudges or feel like a failure when He takes you in a different direction. The Lord knows better than we do (newsflash!), and He has good plans for those who love Him and who He has called (Romans 8:28). Keep that in mind, even as you look ahead to the New Year.
Do you make New Year’s resolutions, or do you avoid them like me? What do you try to keep the pressure of resolutions from getting overwhelming?