Why your New Year’s resolution could be doomed to failure

Every year, people all over the world make new year’s resolutions. Some resolutions sound like this:

  • I will get into better shape this year.
  • I will read through the whole Bible this year.
  • I will floss my teeth more often this year.
  • I will spend more time with my family
  • <insert yours here>

Unfortunately, experience has shown, people making resolutions like these are doomed to failure. Here’s why. They each commit at least one of these fatal mistakes.

1. You don’t really connect with your resolution.

… or you only connect on a superficial level. In essence, you lose sight of the why.

If you don’t really connect with the reason behind your resolution, you will fail. Reading through the whole bible in a year is a great objective. It stems from a desire to be closer to God and know Him better in His word. intimacy with God is the real objective and the resolution is only the means. If i forget the real objective, eventually it may turn into a chore. This has happened to me year after year.

This can also happen with the objective to be in shape. When I started exercising again, I made it my objective to “be able to carry my pregnant wife out a burning building”. Because of this, I was very motivated and was able to stick to my workout 3x a week.

A personal connection is required to succeed. Being disconnected with any goal is a recipe for failure. This first point is so important that all the other points below are more or less connected to this first one.

2. You are not specific enough.

If you say “I will get into shape this year”  you are doomed to failure. What kind of shape? Not having a specific goal is inviting laziness to take over. For physical fitness, it is good to set either a strength goal (i.e. lift my body weight), an endurance goal (run or swim x miles), or maybe a speed goal (4 minute mile).

Being specific will help you get to the heart of the matter, and will help you make the goal matter in your own heart.

3. You are over specific to the point of being rigid

This is the opposite of the previous point. Flexibility is very important. I set a goal this year to increase my strength as much as I can following the stronglifts program. However, since my wife just gave birth and we’re now taking care of a newborn plus a 3 year-old. I won’t be able to go to the gym like before. I’m now looking into alternative workouts that I can do at home. Granted that I won’t be able to increase my strength as much, but it still falls in the larger goal of getting into shape. I will now adjust my goal to a muscle endurance goal instead of a pure strength.

4. You’re making resolutions out of pressure

Maybe some people criticised you and you felt bad about it. You then made a resolution to change this thing about yourself. This is also doomed to failure because the resolution is based on what other people want from you. Any resolution made should be based on what you want for yourself. If the above is the case, maybe the resolution you should make is to have a better relationship with the people who criticised you.

5. You quit (too early)

Ultimately, we never fail until we quit. If we quit, we are doomed to failure.

I put in the phrase “too early” because there are some instances where stopping a resolution is the right thing to do. That’s when you’ve followed it to a certain point that it has accomplished something in your life. Maybe you realize that you don’t really want it anymore, or you’ve found a better way to accomplish the deeper, real objective of your heart.

So that’s it. The heart of the matter is still the heart. If you discover what it is you really want, you are powerful beyond measure.

The prophet Samuel said so Saul at their first meeting, “Come eat with me and I will tell you all that is in your heart.”

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