How many New Year’s resolutions have you made? How many have you kept? Each year, many people try to set aside bad habits when they start the New Year and turn a new leaf. Generally, these last about a week, maybe two. Did you know that the first quarter of the year is the busiest time for gym memberships. We resolve to get ready for summer, to lose a few extra pounds, or to simply get in better shape…until we don’t. In a recent Washington Post article entitled, What Your Gym Doesn’t Want You to Know, one gym reported a 40% increase in attendance (people using their memberships) in December and January. One report, from Planet Money, says that half of the members at one gym never use their membership. So where is the disconnect? Why do people pay for memberships they don’t use? Why do we start out the year with good intentions, then fall back into our old routine? More importantly, how do these good intentions affect our spiritual life?
If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, we do more paving than ever this time of year. The above example is about being physically fit, but our New Year resolutions cover the gambit of life. We want to grow closer with those who are important to us, grow deeply spiritually, read the Bible more, get out of debt, move forward in our business, or strengthen our marriage. I believe that the reason we do not follow through is found in Proverbs 29:18. “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” (ESV) This may sound a little different from what your used to. If we simply talk about the vision and perishing, we may forget about the God part.
So, as you look toward 2018, here are a few ways that your dreams can become goals, then your goals can become your new reality. First, ask God. Pray and ask the goals that he desires for you. As you sense his leading, ask your tangible next steps. Did you know that you are 42% more likely to accomplish your 2018 if you simply write them down and review them regularly? As you pray for goals, use a journal to write down what God brings to mind. Next, intentionally ask people to support you and hold you accountable for your goals. If one of your goals is bible reading, the YouVersion app has a feature that allows you to read the Bible in community and to be held accountable. Check it out in your Apple or Google AppStore.”Blessed is he who who keeps to the law.” God desires for us to look to him and his Word as we follow his vision for our life. So after you pray about and write down what God is telling you, look to his Word and see if your goals line up with God’s teachings. Finally, celebrate what God has done as you achieve in your year ahead.