Hopefully last week’s blog on How To Get Along With Yourself paves the way to finding balance in your life. Before we get buried in Christmas activities, let’s get a jump on the benefits and bungles of New Year’s resolutions. Probably, many of you have attempted good plans to get more sleep, follow a healthy diet, get regular exercise, maintain better contact with family and friends, stick with a budget and save, etc. Everyone means well but making ourselves embrace a new regime via a list is rarely achieved.
“My first thoughts about making resolutions is negative. I hate failure. A list doesn’t do the trick for me.”
“Resolutions are to make improvements in health and behavior, right? It never works for me.”
“Any resolutions I make just activate my preferred and easy procrastination.”
“The gym owner shared that many new members are not around by the end of February.”
“Three articles in our local paper today prove that people in general need serious help with discipline:
a 15 year police officer fired after inappropriate behavior with minor; an educator full of envy removed after unlawful behavior and a ’20 year Judge removed after a wrecked BMW for alcohol.”
In common to these examples is skewed purpose and personal discipline. The productive lives for which those three diligently trained went up in flames in one immature incident. Evidently more than a list of “I plan to” is needed in this critical department. Like kids, adults dislike negative commands. Presenting ourselves with a demanding list of changes in behavior meets with rejection just like the understood “parental” premise. As you know, Spontaneous people dislike anyone telling them what to do, including themselves. Even Structured folks rebel at “you” statements. Getting mad at ourselves for failure to keep our rigid rules and regulations is no way to treat ourselves. Be patient and kind to yourself. Consider what Galatians 6:4 admonishes “Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else…:”
Knowing who you are and are not is the first hurdle. And a positive and enjoyable approach. (Locate your personal profile in my book). Learning how to reinforce inclusions and exclusions of all kinds from speaking, eating, exercising, budgeting, to finishing, setting reachable goals and especially discovering how to find encouragement along the way in areas where we lack initiative is another hurdle. But how does this become reality?
Matching the activities, attitudes and challenging goals with our unique personality clearly reveals whether everything we have included in our pursuits are the wisest choices. We are better off to switch to a positive plan of setting several reachable short range goals (not resolutions) and maybe one or two long-range goals. Keeping physical track of our progress is gratifying and provides the positive outlook on life for which we all yearn. Goal-setting with daily reminders of purpose maintain our physical and mental and spiritual balance. Keeping a notebook or journal will facilitate. Working to find a balance in financial areas--enough for bills, some for fun; balancing recreation, exercise. hobbies, furthering education, time for family as well as community and/or church volunteering; chores: cleaning, groceries, meals, dishes and laundry, yard work, repairs. No end to what screams to be done. Adequate sleep time is absolutely essential. The key is maintaining daily private time for meditation, journalism, thinking, planning and inspirational reading. Goal-setting makes this attainable.
Proverbs—wisdom for every day dilemmas--deals with friendship, speech, marriage, child-rearing, work, diligence and laziness. Principles not promises. Reading one chapter of Proverbs every day (31 chapters) will feed your soul and help you develop skill in the art of godly living.
Establish your purposes and goals and keep your eye on them. Some key reminders:
- Nurture daily spiritual needs. Keep your mind encouraged with good reading and healthy listening.
- Encourage spouse, children, grand-children, friends, co-workers, anyone you meet, etc.
- Take time to pray and play.
“Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” Ecc 4:6
I’ll appreciate any comment you might have regarding this resolution discussion. What works for you?