I don’t think I have ever met anyone who did not have New Years Resolutions or goals that they set for themselves going into the New Year. When you think about it, nothing changes from December 31st to January 1st except the day on the calendar. We are somehow crazy enough to believe that the year coming up is going to be our year.
Because the calendar switches to January 1st, we suddenly believe we are going to completely turn our lives around. Never-mind the fact that, we know whatever it is that we are putting off for 2020, we could have started in December of 2019. Fifty percent of our New Year’s resolutions will be health related: exercise more, eat healthier food, improve our financial health.
January 12th, 2020 National Quitters Day
January 12th is the day that researches say that many people will give up on their promises that they have made for themselves for the new year. Even if they make it past that date, statistics show that upwards of 80% will fail in pursuit of those goals as opposed to only 8% of people who keep their commitments.
But- you don’t need me to give you statistics to tell you that New Years resolutions are hard or even almost impossible to keep. Why is that?
Following the same plan as before, unrealistic expectations, and the "at the first of the year is when I’ll start mindset."
Following the same plan as last year will not bring about change in your life, nor will the calendar going from December 31st to January 1st.
Evaluation Okay, I haven’t been very successful So how do I make 2020 the best year of my life?
1. Purpose "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. " Daniel 1:8
Now, for a cup of transparency: Growing up without my father has had mental, emotional, and spiritual ramifications that I never expected. One in particular, that comes to mind, is when I look at my life up until now, I realize that fear of abandonment and loneliness are things that I struggle with. Because of this, as an adolescent, I tried to cure those feelings with drugs, sports, and whatever else I could find. But more importantly, it has impacted my ability to love. When I was less mature, and had no emotional intelligence, those feelings of loneliness and being single always dominated my decisions.
I spent the majority of my time trying to find love. Like clockwork, I would jump in and out of relationships in an attempt to appease those feelings and fill the voids with people. It wasn’t until I began to do some digging and found a sense of self-worth, that I came to the conclusion that this was an issue. I decided to be single for a season so that God could heal me. However, merely wanting to change was not going to be enough. Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not eat the kings food. Purposed is a strong word that means devoted or committed to a course of action. By purposing in his heart, Daniel was staying true to a lifelong determination of doing the right thing and not giving in to the pressures around him. We too, like Daniel, this year will get assaulted by pressures to compromise our standards. However, merely wanting or preferring to change things will not change things.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
It is easier to resist temptation if you have a plan in place and have set boundaries beforehand. If you've thought through possible scenarios long before the temptation arises, you have a better probability of maintaining control over your reactions and outcome. Daniel and his friends made the decision to be faithful to the laws of God before they were faced with the king's food, so when tempted they did not hesitate to stick with their convictions. We get ourselves into trouble when we have not decided beforehand where we stand. (Hey that rhymed!) Before these situations come up, we should be sure to decide on our commitments, that way when the test comes, we will pass it. 2.Replace
Deciding to be someone or do something is not enough to reach your goals.
There is a story that says when an unclean spirit goes out of a person. It travels all over looking for somewhere to rest -but finds none. It says I will return to my house from where I came. When it returns, it finds its home swept and in order. It goes back in but takes seven other spirits with it -more evil than himself. And the state of the person is worse than before. Luke11:24-26
For some of you reading this. You may have tried to kick certain habits, addictions, or even people out of your life before. You may have tried to start a new diet before. And you may have done it by trying to go cold turkey! Congratulations to those of you that this approach worked for! However, for the rest of us, we fell short of our goals. When we relapsed, we may have slid back and gotten even worse than before. This is why replacing these things with something healthy or productive is mandatory. Otherwise, you will not have anything else to do but go back to your old ways.
As a single heterosexual Christian man. For the longest time, God and girls were my world. So when you eliminate one, you have all the time in the world for the other. To replace the way I was living before and stand firm on what I believed, I began finding intentional ways to spend time with myself and God- taking myself out to eat or on dates, reading in coffee shops alone, and having conversations with myself and my creator. This helped me get to know myself better and become more self aware. This also helped me combat loneliness with being by myself for hours at a time so I could understand that being single did not have to mean that I was alone. It helped me understand that I was loved by God.
Apart from this, one of the other healthy ways I have recycled that desire to rush to be married, was by journaling prayers for my future wife and prayers for our marriage. Every night I write a prayer for her in my phone, or in a journal. I have been doing this for a few years now, and will give them to her on our wedding day. For me, these feelings have not subsided, but what I replaced them with are a lot healthier than what I was replacing them with before.
I don’t know what works best for you, but I will tell you that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Deciding to be someone or do something is not enough to reach your goals. While coming up with a plan is great, executing that plan is even more important. And replacing your old ways with new ones are equally important because it allows you to fully move forward and grow from dating the same types of men or women, eating fast food, or whatever it is that is holding you back from living your best life.
As I began to focus on my purpose and loving myself more, I began to have success in breaking habits, not entertaining people I knew would not be capable of loving me, and having a sense of security in growing into the man God was calling me to be and who God wanted me to be. With any new habit formed or positive change in your life that brings joy, there is always the temptation, BUT! I’m telling you right now.... 3. Don’t look back
The Bible tells of a man named Lot who was a righteous man who had to be separated from his family because of a lack of resources. He chose the most wicked place of all for them to live in. Genesis13 tells us that the men of the city he lived in were great sinners of the Lord. Lot was warned by God that the land was to be destroyed and to leave immediately when two angels in the form of men approached him. After much hesitancy, and his home being physically confronted by the men of Sodom seeking the angels, Lot and his family finally made the move to escape.
They were clearly instructed in Genesis 19:17: “Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain!” While en route out of the city, Lot’s wife looked back at the destruction, against the angels’ instruction. As a consequence, she turned into a pillar of salt. Genesis 19:26
Oddly enough, we have the weirdest desire and tendency to crave the things of the past. Things we know are toxic for us. As we see from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, our unwillingness to turn completely away can be costly. Are you looking back or holding on to what hasn’t worked in the past, while trying to move forward with God or your life? I hate to have to be the one to tell you, but you cannot make progress as long as you are holding onto pieces of your old life.
Like Lot’s wife, for me- moving on meant I had to leave a lot of things that I loved behind. It meant that I had to leave people that I really loved behind. When I get sad about that, I remember that God is enough. He has someone special for me. He has better for me, because I deserve better. It is when I was not focused on God or bettering myself that I began to think about the way that things used to be and that I may even have a bad day. Truthfully, it took me awhile to form healthier dating habits and be okay with being single because my Father’s absence left a hole in my heart. I know now that where God is leading me is much more important than the life I am leaving behind.
And the same is true for you.
I know change is hard but you need to hear this: Do NOT. I Repeat: Do NOT look or go back. If you don’t, this really is going to be the best year of your life. You may be trying to stop smoking. Or drinking. Or wanting men/women that do not treat you the way that you feel you deserve. I don't know what the best year of your life looks like for you, but for that to happen, it is going to require you to elevate to a certain level to achieve the things you have set out to do. Family, friends, and loved ones deserve the best version of you.
Write out how you want things to be, the way you should be treated by people, or why making this lifestyle change has to be done. Commit to it or purpose in your heart. Replace! Out with the old, in with the healthier. And finally.... Do NOT look back.
If you are reading this, I want you to know that you are amazing. That you can do this. That this will be the best year of your life. That you are loved by God and He has a special plan for your life this year. If you have a bad day, it does not define you. If you have a good day, it does not define you. Try not to be too hard on yourself if things do not go exactly the way you planned them. Not if, but when you fail- dwell on your successes longer than your failures. Act like you deserve better, because you do. Surround yourself with people that will not let you settle for less than you deserve, who will push you to be better, and will laugh with you this year.
You are loved, Bye.