I‘ve done it. You’ve done it. You probably know someone else who has done it. In fact, maybe even 1 out of every 2 people you’ve ever met has done this.
So, what have we all done? We’ve made New Year’s Resolutions or yearly goals. Most people resolve to lose weight, get fit, pay off debt, start a new hobby, or even stop watching so many hours of TV each night.
Why do we do this every year? Well, tradition has it that the Romans may have been trying to please and honor their god Janus. You see, Janus had two faces: one looking forward (future) and one looking backward (past).
So it was said that the Romans would often set resolutions to be better the next year believing that Janus could forgive them for their wrongdoings in the past year.
There you have it. The tradition was passed along, and people are still
trying to please the god Janus setting resolutions to do better this next year than they did in the last.
And you know what, I think that’s a great practice. So, let’s look at some reasons why I believe that New Year’s Resolutions are so important.
Reason #1: New Year’s Resolutions Give Focus
It really is difficult to know where you are headed if you don’t have some amount of focus. For example, if you are trying to pass a driver’s education test in which the instructor wants you to weave in and out of the orange safety cones, you need to focus!
New Year’s resolutions are so important because they can that give us focus. Do you have a goal to “be healthy” in 2018? That’s great if you do, but I want to challenge you to be even more specific.
What is health to you? Losing 20 pounds? Cooking meals at home? Avoiding fried foods? A better, more focused resolution might be: I’m going to be healthy this year by losing 20 pounds. I’m going to lose 20 pounds by journaling what I eat and drink, performing a cardio sculpt 30-minute workout 4 times a week, and taking measurements and pictures every 90 days to chart my progress.
With specific focus like that, you are well on your way to achieving your resolution this year!
Reason #2: New Year’s Resolutions Provide Insight
According to one news source, the number 4 resolution for people in 2017 was to “save more money.” This type of resolution happens almost every year.
It’s one I like to call the I want to avoid going crazy at Christmas time resolution. Money, money, money. It can be such a tricky little thing if we aren’t good stewards of what we have.
Money isn’t the most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the ‘gotta have it’ scale. -Zig Ziglar
So, if you are resolving to save more money or pay off debt this year, let’s consider what kind of insight that may be providing us. Do you feel trapped in debt? Are you buying Christmas gifts on a credit card? Will saving a specific amount of money each month give your family more margin?
With money, I believe that you should have it as a goal to at least save 10% of what you earn. You may not be able to do that right now, but you need to start somewhere. So, I suggest simply setting aside $50 cash every paycheck right now. If you get paid 24-26 times a year like most people do you will have at least $1200 saved up this year!
The amount you set aside really does not matter. What matters is the principle and habit of teaching yourself to be disciplined and set money aside. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Reason #3: New Year’s Resolutions Change People
Let’s just say you are like 50% of the population, and you fail to complete your New Year’s resolutions. I know you had the best of intentions, but you just couldn’t get it done. Why is that?
It could be a number of reasons, but I think most people fail because they are too general and/or too grand with their resolutions. You may want to become a millionaire this year, but it probably won’t happen for most people. So, if half of us will fail, why should we even bother?
New Year’s resolutions are so important because they change people. Even if you have failed in your resolutions year after year, you are still a different person than you were last year or 10 years ago.
My encouragement would be to keep setting resolutions every year. And each time you set them, be more specific than you were last year. Write down more about your journey than you did last year. Ask your spouse or best friend to help keep you accountable when Valentine’s Day comes and you want to throw in the towel and eat all the desserts.
Above all, don’t quit just because everything didn’t change the way you wanted it to. Life is about more than achieving every goal we ever set. Resolutions are a great way to start out each year with a fresh look and perspective on your life.
And you know what, you can actually do that any time of the year you want! So, set your goals today, go to work, and see where you are in 90 days, then in 180, 270, and finally at the end of a year. I think you’d be surprised how much you learn about yourself even if you never achieve the resolution you’ve set.
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on […] – Philippians 3:13 NLT