I used to make a New Year’s resolutions.
But over the last few years, I’ve started something…well, uh… NEW which I’ll share with you in a little while.
But first, did you know that 45% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions? Sadly only 8% are successful at keeping them, according to Statistic Brain Research Institute.
Why are so few of us successful at keeping our resolutions?
Psychology professor Peter Herman and his colleagues have identified that many make resolutions that are significantly unrealistic and out of alignment with their internal view of themselves. When you make positive affirmations about yourself that you don’t really believe, the positive affirmations not only don’t work, they can be damaging to your self-worth
According to brain scientists, making resolutions involves changing behaviors—and in order to change a behavior, you have to change your thinking (or “rewire” your brain).
Interestingly, this lines up with what Christians have been reading from the Bible for centuries.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2
“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” Ephesians 4:22
CONSIDER DOING THESE THREE THINGS BEFORE MAKING A RESOLUTION:
1. Change the way you think
Making a resolution means that you want to change something—that you’re not satisfied with something. This can be a negative and discouraging pattern of thought.
The only way to make lasting change starts in how we think. We must exchange a negative for a positive (Ephesians 4:22-23). Psychologists say this is how to create new neural pathways in your brain in order to change habits.
A great exercise to begin creating positive thought patterns is to count your blessings.
Yes, I’m talking literally counting your blessings. Here’s how:
2. Make A Blessing And Personal Accomplishment List
I like to start each new year on a positive note. A great way to do this is by making a list of blessings and personal accomplishments. I write my blessings and accomplishments in my journal. It serves as a great reminder of how God is working in my life. You may want to check out a post I wrote that includes how to keep a prayer journal: https://beckielindsey16.com/2016/09/26/3-ways-to-fight-distractions-during-prayer/.
I cannot tell you how much keeping a prayer/blessing journal has helped my spiritual life. I also write out scriptures as well as what God is teaching me about the scriptures (I’ll be writing more about that in another article.)
I realize not everyone is the ‘writer’ type. However, I think if you’d give this a try, you will be blessed.
Here’s an example of a few things that I wrote in my journal:
I’m thankful for:
God’s daily grace, mercy, His Word, His Holy Spirit
Friends and church family
The United States of America
My husband’s health issues have improved
My health is good
My oldest son got married
I went to two writers conferences
I was published on websites, in my local newspaper, and magazines this year
I’ve finished the first edits on my YA novel
Finished the rough draft for the Bible study I’ve co-written
I lost five pounds and didn’t gain it back
Kept up with exercise 3-5 days a week
I have 3,482 readers on my blog (That’s YOU! I thank you for your support, dear readers)
What will your blessings and accomplishments list look like?
Once you’ve made your list of blessings and things accomplished throughout the year, pray for guidance on any new goals.
Doesn’t it make sense that we’d ask God before attempting a major life change like a resolution?
It pleased the Lord when Solomon asked for wisdom (1 Kings 3:7-14), and it pleases Him when we ask as well.
“If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” James 1:5
Finally, it’s important to remember we are not alone. We have God’s help to accomplish the goals that He has given us. In fact, God has given us all we need to live a godly life (2 Peter 1:3). His Spirit is at work within us, giving us new desires to do what pleases Him (Philippians 2:13), which make us more and more like His Son.
This should be our primary resolution: to be more like JESUS.
If being more like Jesus is our primary resolution, God will direct what that looks like in our individual lives in the new year.
WISHING YOU MANY BLESSINGS IN
Do you make resolutions? If so, what have they been and have you accomplished them? Please share your thoughts below in the comments.
DO YOU MAKE NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS? BEFORE YOU DO…#before2016ends pic.twitter.com/maPglzbXsn
— Beckie Lindsey (@BeckieLindsey_) December 30, 2016
Beckie — bravo.
I love the way you listed the 3 steps to a great new year before making a resolution.
1- change the way you think. 2- make a blessing and personal accomplishment list. 3- prayer. Thank you for the way you go into detail on each one.
This is wonderful advice backed up by the Word of God. Happy New Year and great blog.
Del, Thanks so much for your encouraging words. I’m pleased you found the list helpful.
Wishing you many blessings in 2017!
Love your practical approach to reflecting on blessings Beckie! Keeping a prayer journal has been an incredible blessing to me as well how easy it is to forget what God has done but keeping a journal allows us to continually praise His gift to us!!
May God bless you and your family in 2017 with many more blessings! Thank you for your gift of writing and mentoring this year I have been personally blessed by you as God is helping me in my own journey. ❤
Eve, Your kind words brought tears to my eyes. I’m humbled and honored to be used by the Lord. I write what He is teaching me. And boy am I a work in progress!
Wish you and yours many blessings in 2017! Keep shining your light through your writing, Eve!
Great post. Thanks for sharing.
Patty, Thanks for your continual encouragement! I’m so pleased it spoke to you.
Happy New Year!
There was a song that came out during my second year in college by Sister Hazel called “Change your mind” and one segment went,
“If you’re tired of losing battles with yourself, change your mind…”
It’s so true! We need to adopt the mind of Christ. It takes time and diligence.
Elihu, I love this song. Thanks for mentioning it. I’ve included the link below for those who may want to listen.
Happy New Year!
Reblogged this on girlychristian.
Yes, you keep it simple with just three steps. And James 1:5 is perfect.
Thanks, Mary. I love the James scripture too. Wishing you a very Happy New Year!
Great post. God was just showing me this week that it is exhausting trying to achieve things in my own strength, and wise to consult Him before you go ahead and try to accomplish your goals – to make sure they line up with His will (see 1 Kings 1 for the disaster- getting to 1 Kings 3 and wisdom tomorrow!) so all this emphasises His recent message to me. His burden is light – give my resolutions or ‘better me wish list’ into His hands.
Congratulations on all your accomplishments this year – that’s quite a list – God is so faithful 💕
Beccyp, Thanks for taking the time to share how God is speaking to you lately. I’m humbled and honored that this post could help bring confirmation.
Wishing you a very blessed New Year!
Beckie, I don’t make resolutions, but choose a word to inspire and carry me through the New Year (I’ll be revealing the word this coming Tuesday on my blog). However, I’m going to join you in the resolution you shared to become more like Christ. What could be better than that? Plus, we know He will be right by our side to make this happen more and more.
Blessings in the New Year, my friend!
Martha, Yes, I have friends who choose a word to inspire them or a Bible verse. I liked this idea as well. I prayed about trying it myself a few years ago and since, God usually gives me a verse to meditate on that contains a focus word. I’m considering writing about this, but haven’t formulated the post. I look forward to reading yours.
Thanks for sharing.
God Bless you in 2017
This is good advice. I haven’t had much success with my past resolutions!
Heather, I’ve had a hard time keeping past resolutions—especially ones that involve food, or lack thereof! I’ve experienced a sense of freedom as God has directed my goals. I’m glad this post spoke to you. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Blessings to you and yours in 2017!
Becky, Thank you for sharing. I stopped making resolutions many years ago. I make a daily resolution to know Christ and Him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2. I fall short but I clean to the fact that God’s mercies are new every morning and His faithfulness is great.
Thanks for commenting, Cherrilynn. Making a daily resolution to know and grow in Christ is the way to go!
Beckie, great post! I keep a 5-year thank you journal, and I’m on year 3; so every morning, the first thing I do is write down something I’m thankful for, and then I look back at what I wrote on the same page for the previous years. It’s been so special. Thanks for this encouragement and motivational post!
Crickett, Yes, it’s a great idea to write down what we are thankful for everyday. It really does help with a positive mindset. Thanks for taking the time to read and share your thoughts.