Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

It’s early evening, January 2, 2008 as I write this.  If you made a New Year’s Resolution, it is likely that it is already broken by the time you read this.  In the waning days of 2007, I heard/read three helpful suggestions for keeping those resolutions.

  1. Many of us will choose something we would like to add to our lives, more reading, more exercise, healthier food, etc.  What we don’t do is make room for the new choices.  If I am going to exercise, I need to give up something in order to create the time necessary for the activity.  That means a change in routines!  Without the change in routines, the added activity is doomed to be tossed on the trash heap with the other good intentions.  Carve room in your schedule for the addition of something new! (This is consistent with the spiritual discipline of “fasting”.  When one is fasting, the time usually consumed with eating and meal preparation is to be used for prayer or other spiritual disciplines.)
  2. I’m guilty of usually keeping my resolutions private.  No one knows but me.  When I fail to keep those resolutions, I’m the only one to know that.  Sharing the resolution and asking someone to assist in holding me accountable is a powerful motivator.  Just don’t get angry at them when they live up to the expectation!  (Confession and absolution anyone?)
  3. The final suggestion is reported to come from Jerry Seinfeld and is a productivity tip.  It’s called “Don’t Break the Chain!”  A year-at-a-glance calendar and a marker are required.  Each day that the “resolution” is kept gets marked boldly on the calendar.  The goal is to create a chain of days, and then not break it.  This technique creates habits, and longer lasting changes in behavior.

Being a person who doesn’t like to follow the crowd … my New Year’s Resolutions usually don’t start on January 1.  In 2007 it started on November 28, 2006.  This year, I think I’ll start (and use these ideas) today.  (That way, I’ll not have broken the resolution by January 2nd!)

Pondering Pastor

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