No More Resolutions

Posted: December 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

Well, it is the holiday season again and with that comes turkeys, trees, presents, hope for a new year and of course…

According to the people at – Statistic Brain– 45% of Americans made resolutions in 2012 – it stands to reason that number is fairly constant – and of that 45% – 24% fail or give up on their resolutions.
So, about ½ the population makes resolutions and nearly HALF of that number fails. Whew!
Why? Is there something wrong with those people?
Are they less capable?
 Less talented? I think not.
Without talking to each and every one of the respondents I would guess that the majority of the 24% make similar choices when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions, notice I did not say “mistakes”? I would bet that those bad choices have more to do with bad goal setting or planning skills or lack thereof than any other issue.
Many years ago, I stopped making New Year’s resolutions and started setting goals for the upcoming year.  It may be a difference without distinctions but I think there are some things to take away from a simple change of terminology and doing a couple things a little different than before.
I have broken it down into 6 easy to follow steps:
Get a sheet a paper and jot down ALL the things you want to do or accomplish – naturally you will not be able to all of them, one would think, in the next calendar year but who knows? Who am I to dash your dreams, right? Make the list – we will call this our “Master List” – as complete as you want.  Do you want to go to Europe? Write it down. Do you want to learn to speak Spanish? Write it down. Run a triathlon? Write a book? Finish college – or go back? Take a cooking class? Go Camping? It does not matter what it is, where it is or how much it will cost. JUST WRITE!
Click HERE for my 2013 Master sheet.
Second – REDUCE
Now that you have a list of your dream goals go back and edit the list. On another sheet of paper categorize the list by long term goals (LTG) – not really reachable in the next year but worth working on – and manageable goals for a twelve month period. You will be tempted to put some LTGs on the list but for now concentrate on the manageable goals. The best way to succeed at most anything is to see some success in something – no matter how small. So, for now leave the LTGs for later.  Now, before moving on to the next step I suggest putting away your “Master List”. I did not say throw away. This list will be important in the future. Put it someplace you’ll remember it – and more importantly – be able to find it in the future. Like December 2013. Now narrow the list to four or five of the possible goals that REALLY stands out to you.
                NOTE – If this is your first time trying this you might make it two or three. I will explain why I go with a smaller number in a later step. Go with what works for you. For me, the order is not important – it might be for you so place them according to what helps you get where you are going.
Third – DEFINE
Now take your edited list of New Year’s resolutions and write what “success” looks like to you for each goal. Did you borrow my idea of reading more this year? Well, what exactly does that mean? How much did you read last year? Do you read for pleasure, for your job, do you have to read for school? You have to know yourself well enough to not a set the goal too high – this can be quite discouraging if you do not make it – of course, it can be a source of pride if you beat it. I usually set the number at between ten and twelve books a year. With my work schedule, church and family and blogging this is a reasonable number. But I know me. Most people resolve to “lose weight” in the New Year. OK, so what does that mean? How much weight?
 So, go through your list and write out how your “success” will look.
Fourth – DETAILS
This may not seem like an important thing to consider – after all, we did just go through and decide what success looks like to us right? That is the detail, right?
  1 Chronicles 28:19 tells us, “All this,” David said, “I have in writing as a result of the LORD’s hand on me, and he enabled me to understand all the details of the plan.” God has plans for us and the most important aspect of our lives – second only to having a relationship with Jesus Christ – is discovering those details.  So, write down HOW you will achieve your goal of reading ten to twelve books. Watching less TV is great way to make time to read – sorry, I do not mean to preach. Walking around the neighborhood a couple nights a week will help in your weight loss. So, write down the details.  Again, keep this worksheet someplace safe; you will need it later. Maybe with your master list – you do remember where that is?
This next step is, in my opinion only a little less important than number six – do not peek yet. In fact, if not for step number six this would be the most important step. For this one, I get two index cards – 3X5 is good – and I write down the goals with some key words to help me remember my “details” – on the off-chance I forget something I can refer to my master list. Now, where did I put that thing?
Why two you ask? To write them twice, of course.
By the time you are done with both cards you should have written your New Year’s GOALS out, in long hand – at least six times – this will help you remember them. However, our brains do not always work the way we would like, mine is as faulty as they come – where did I put that master sheet – and the cards work as a reminder. I will put one on my computer so I see it almost every day and the other I keep in my wallet. This allows me to read them from time to time when I am away from home.  You may want to make more – go ahead the more you write the longer you will retain the ideas. Something else I do as part of this step is to write some deadlines on my calendar – in advance. For my book reading I will write on the second or third of January, “Choose first book” and so on.
And I try to set up a time in June to review all the goals. I check my progress to see if I need to tweak something, add something, delete something or revise something all together for the second half of the year. I may even need to celebrate something if I have completed a goal.
OK, so this step could be first. It may need to be. It could be a key component of each of the other five steps. In fact, as you begin I encourage you to allow God to be an active participant in you planning.  The Bible tells us in Psalm 94:11that, “The LORD knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile.”
Does that mean we should not plan? No, of course not but we must do it wisely; with Him and His glory in mind.
In Proverbs 16:3, Solomon wrote, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” This does not say He will give you a new car or tell you where you put that master list and it does not say that “your” plans will be successful. It does say that if we commit to God the things we are doing and do them for HIS glory he will show us HIS plans for us.
So, that is it. Six steps to Goal setting for the New Year. If you worked through this, it is my hope that you know yourself a bit better now and you are maybe closer to God.
Good Luck in reaching your goals next year. Leave a comment below about your resolutions/goals for 2013.Do you make resolutions, set goals or avoid it all together?

Please let me know how your planning goes and how your year turns out.

***UPDATE – January 13, 3013***
I am adding a seventh step, not really a step but a great suggestion that I got from the Blog “WORD SHARPENERS.” She has a great list a goal setting ideas and among them was ACCOUNTABILITY. Any time we make our selves accountable to others the likleyhood of our following through on our goals – or anything – goes up. Seriously, do you want to tell someone you’re going to learn to play guitar for their Christmas party next year then have to tell them that you “never got around to learning”?

I don’t.

Anyone need an accountability partner for something? Post it in the comments. I’ll stay on ya!
Anyone willing to keep me accountable to posting? I could use that myself.
All scripture used in this post came from Bible Gateway and was from the NIV
  1. Tamera Kraft says:

    Thanks for the shout out to Word Sharpeners. You have a great list here.

  2. […] time in fact. Even detailing several steps and how I work through them. You can look at that post here or […]

  3. […] I have some other ideas and detail more of my strategies for goal setting  – you can check those our here or here, oh and here. […]

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