It is that time of year again when people begin to think about their goals and aspirations for the upcoming year. A new year is a time of new beginnings and with it comes the so-called “New Year’s Resolutions”. For some their goal will be to lose weight (guilty). For others, getting out of debt is first and foremost on their minds. Still others set out on January 1st with the plan to read the Bible through in a year or to be involved more with their kids or to finally finish that home improvement project that has been in the works for years but was never started or finished. I would venture to submit most do not enter the new year without at least thinking, however minimally, about what they plan, wish, or hope to do.
Now the gyms will be full of new or long lost patrons for the first few weeks, maybe the first month. Check again in February and the initial surge of those who had “losing weight” as a top priority will have likely dwindled significantly. Getting out of debt…well once the holiday bills come due, paying off the deferred interest charges or staying true to the budget that seemed so easy at the time becomes less of a focus. We can always work on that bill paying thing next year as after all it is 18 months interest free. Reading the Bible through in a year? Just wait until you check out Leviticus. Home improvements? Well those have to wait until we finish paying off that 18 months of free interest.
Sounds like I am being a bit cynical, right? In part I am because I can speak from personal experience of the number of years I set out to pursue my “New Year’s Resolutions” only to be sidetracked rather quickly in the year. Am I against setting goals? Absolutely not. The big difference between why people succeed and fail in achieving their goals is they are not resolute about their resolutions. What in the world do you mean by that is likely what you are thinking. Let me explain.
To be resolute means to be “purposeful, determined, and unwavering.” Thus, a resolution should be more than a wishy-washy wish list of hope to do achievements. If that is one’s approach, it will be no surprise when they stop going to the gym once February rolls around or why they stop their yearly Bible reading once Leviticus shows up. If there is no purpose or unwavering drive to accomplish the goal, it will not be achieved.
This begs the question as to how a person can be resolute. If losing weight is a goal (I have this one on my list), simply saying you will lose weight will not cut it. You have to develop a plan that consists of specific defined objectives. A specific objective is not “I want to lose 30 pounds”. That is an overall goal. Specific objectives for such a goal include:
1) Find an accountability partner
2) Establish a written healthy diet plan
3) Establish a written weekly exercise plan
Those specific objectives could even be broken down into more specific elements. The point is to set in place a mechanism to resolutely achieve that resolution. Being resolute means you understand the reality there will be times when the temptation to chuck your resolutions into the dustbin of past year’s resolutions will be quite strong. When Leviticus comes calling, will you press through and study with the same rigor and focus the chapters on the sacrificial system as you did when you were reading about Adam and Eve or Abraham.
I plan on setting a few resolute resolutions for 2016. One I have already shared and that is reading through George Peters’ three volume work called “The Theocratic Kingdom”. I am on what I assume will be the long list of people wanting to lose weight and get in shape in 2016. For those two resolutions to be resolute, I am going to have to press forward and endure through those times when I want to give up.
Setting goals is quite biblical. In fact, we see the comparison made between the ant and the sluggard quite often in the book of Proverbs. The ant works diligently towards the yearly goal of preparing while the sluggard sits around in a state of laziness, typically accomplishing nothing and setting no goals whatsoever. While one would arguably be hard pressed to find a Scripture that demands a membership to the local gym, we are told that the approach to life of gluttony is an abomination to God. There is no command to read the Bible through in a year; however, we are commanded to hide God’s Word on our hearts and to impress all of Scripture upon our children when we lie down and rise up and when we go in and come out from our homes. One cannot do that unless they are spending quality, consistent, and yes resolute time reading the Bible. In order to do so, it must become a goal, something we strive to do with an unwavering sense of purpose.
As we enter 2016 and as you think about your goals for the new year, make them resolute resolutions. Do not fall into the trap of making resolutions just to make resolutions. Put some thought behind your goals, implement a plan of action, and go forth and do all things for the glory of God.
Michael lives in Belleville, IL, a suburb of St. Louis, MO with his wife Erica, adopted daughter Alissa, two cats Molly and Sweetie Pie and horse Beckham. After spending eight years in the United States Navy as a Yeoman, he has been employed for the past ten years by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) where he oversees advanced educational programs. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Religion (Biblical Studies) from Liberty University and is currently closing in on completing a Master of Arts in Religion (Biblical Studies) from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He is an avid reader and blogger.