Here we are, embarking on a brand new year. It holds so many possibilities and it’s up to us to shape it in the manner of our choosing. Many people make resolutions going into a new year. But, we all know what happens with resolutions. They are famous for fizzling out even before the spring flowers arrive. This year, make it different. Go ahead and make your resolutions, but give them legs to walk you through the entire year. In other words, have a plan of attack. Resolutions need to be more than some neatly-written sentences on a piece of paper taped to your mirror. They need to work.
Here are the four steps to planning for success in 2014…
Personal: Don’t just write down resolutions that you want to achieve. Write down the resolutions that you must achieve. There is a big difference between having a hankering to do something and having a passion to do something. This year, make your resolutions personal! You do that by figuring out the WHY behind the resolution. Do you want to drop twenty pounds? Why? Because you want to look prettier in your clothes or because you want to live a healthier, longer life for your children and your grandchildren? Do you see the difference? Come up with the reason why you absolutely must achieve your goals. When you get to the heart of the issue, it’s much easier to continue working toward your goals when the pressure is on. There are some mornings I really don’t want to get out of bed and go walking, but when I roll over and see my husband, Blair, I want to keep in shape so we can grow old together and keep going strong.
Long-Term: Don’t just think 2014, think years and years down the road. This forces you to think big! I set goals that I can achieve in a few months or a year, but they are all a bigger part of a huge vision. I dream so big for myself that I would be embarrassed to tell anyone about it—it seems too huge, too impossible for one person. But that’s the point. You need to set enormous goals. Don’t limit yourself to what you think is possible. Instead, set your sights on the impossible, the things you can only do with God’s supernatural help. For example, instead of just hoping for that promotion, set your sights on managing the company or maybe even starting your own business. Instead of just getting out of credit card debt, why not decide that you are going to pay off your home and start your own charity? Believe for the best and then step forward in faith, knowing that nothing is too big or too lofty.
Achievable: Just like you need to set long-term goals that are out of reach, you need to set short-term goals that are achievable. Everyone has wishes, but a wish becomes a goal when it has a plan to back it up. That’s the importance of setting goals that you can cross off your list. In your journey to reach the long-term goals, you need to set milestones that you can reach so you can reward yourself along the way and keep track of your progress. If you’re trying to pay off your home, then set the goal of adding one extra payment to your loan every year. If you’re trying to eat healthier, then set the goal of eating 2-3 healthy vegetarian meals a week. When you make your goals achievable, then you know that you’re getting somewhere and you feel that wonderful feeling of accomplishment. Every big mountain is climbed in small steps. Break down your resolutions in little steps that you can reach and then go after them.
Non-negotiable: Every super-achiever, every conqueror has had that moment where you draw a line in the sand and say, “no longer.” My moment came when I was overwhelmed with stress and a cluttered home, drowning in debt, out of shape, and depressed. I picked myself out of the pile of laundry that I had sunk down into in tears and said, “no longer. I deserve a better life. God created me to be more than what I am now. He created me for a life of abundance and joy. No longer am I going to settle for anything less.” Have you had your moment? That moment where you will no longer negotiate with life? You’re the one setting the rules. Your resolutions need to be so firm in your life that they are non-negotiable. You can pass on that second cookie because you are no longer negotiating with tight jeans and upper arm jiggle. You can pass on that impulse purchase because you are no longer negotiating with credit cards that are heaping on fees and charges and trying to keep you imprisoned in debt.
This year, don’t just set resolutions. Make life changes. And this only happens when you make a P-L-A-N.