It’s 2016! Happy New Year! Hopefully your holidays were filled with family, fun, friends, and blessings and you’re looking forward to a great new year. Each year, as we roll out of one four-digit sequence and into another, people are asking the usual questions:
- What will next year be like for me?
- How can I make next year better than last year?
- How much weight can I lose?
- Can I build stronger relationships with those around me?
- How can I get my dream job this year?
- What resolutions should I make?
Resolutions – that word seems to have found a way into our culture as the norm for what we must do each December 31st as we look ahead to a new year. But statistically, new years resolutions don’t work. We start out with great gusto only to find that within a couple weeks or a month, we’ve reverted right back into our old habits, the ones that we said we were going to change or eliminate. Traditional resolutions don’t work because they fail to take into account the need to have a strong “why” for any given resolution. For example, I can say I want to get healthier but if I don’t have a compelling “why”, it simply won’t happen because it’s not important enough to me. Just saying that I want to get healthy because it’s what I should do or because someone else says I should isn’t good enough. However, if I say I want to get healthier because I want to be around for my wife and family for years to come and I don’t want to go through life sick and in the doctor’s office continually, or because I’ve been given only one body in this life and it’s important that I steward it well so I am able to fulfill the things I am uniquely called to do, those have a much stronger pull. Resolutions also fail because we tend to make too many of them and no one has enough hours in the week to focus on too many different things. Peter Drucker once said “If you have more than five goals, you have none.”
So if traditional new years resolutions don’t work, I say, don’t make them. I’m not against change or wanting to better ourselves. I spend time at the end of every year evaluating how the year went and where I want to go next. But maybe a more sound strategy than making arbitrary resolutions would be to think of the top 3 to 5 things that are most important to you for the coming year and then create an actionable plan around those things. Connect with your “why” for each change you want to make and then create a written plan with written, measurable goals and keep that plan in front of you every day. And if you want to really succeed, find an accountability partner or two that you can share your plan with and who will help you stay on track with what you say you want. Change is so much easier when you have someone who is encouraging you, helping you, and that you need to give account to for the things you said you’d do.
As 2016 begins, I wish you God’s richest blessings for the new year and the courage and drive to make the changes you want to make. If you’re intentional, 2016 can be your best year yet!