It’s somewhere between week 4 and week 8 of the year and new year’s resounding resolutions seem both so far away, and like it was only yesterday. That gym membership we took out, yeah probably been a few times. The new healthy eating plan, yeah, broke that a couple of times. Savings, yeah the Christmas fever made me splurge, besides new academic year, new job, need to restock on stationary and materials right?
Slowly but surely the resolutions are getting weaker. Oh dear, what keeps happening to our resolve? We’ve probably all experienced it. I know I have. Last year, I set myself a writing goal, and well let’s just say, it didn’t happen. Why? You’ll see.
But what does happen to our resolve? Our resolve was so strong and then it seems to just fade. Don’t worry, our resolution isn’t lost all together. We can still reclaim it. In fact, with well over three quarters of the year ahead of us we actually still have ample opportunity to refocus and restart our New Year’s resolution. If we truly want it and are willing to work for it.
So how do we go about salvaging the wreck of our New Year’s ambitions? We at VM recommend following the four R’s: recharge, refocus, restart and re-evaluate.
Start by recharging your batteries. What was it that made you go ‘YEAH! That’s what I’ll do, that’s why I’ll work on this, or make this change in my life!’ What got you so fired up and motivated? This is where I generally reflect and pray. I spend time really listening to what I’m called to do in the here and now, and what I’m being called to in the near future. It doesn’t always happen when I want it to either, sometimes it takes ages for me to actually hear it. But try to trust. I recall the words of St Paul in his letter to the Philippians
“I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me”. (Phil 4:13)
So ask God to strengthen you and show you the why behind what you’re being called to do and let that recharge you.
Ask yourself questions like, ‘was my resolution too ambitious or complicated, or maybe too vague?’ ‘Can I make these into simpler and more realistic expectations that I can actually meet?’. When I set myself the goal of writing last year, it was too vague ‘just write, anything!’. I needed to be more specific, about what. Plan around what kinds of things to write about, how often I would commit to writing and how I would know that I had actually achieved my writing goal. The vagueness of it all made it all to hard to reach a goal let alone achieve any satisfaction.
This one is pretty self-explanatory right? Just get back in there and re-start. Don’t let the lies of ‘oh January is gone already… February is almost here’. ‘ I’ve already failed’ ‘it’s not a new year’s resolution if you start in February!’ OR the lies of ‘you failed once, what makes you think you can actually do it this time?’ SO WHAT!!! That’s the past, so let the past be there and let’s work into the future. A very wise one once said –
‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, today is a gift. That is why they call it the present’ – Master Oogway, Kung Fu Panda.
So maybe a tortoise isn’t a real person, but you get the idea. Today is a gift, make the most of today.
This is where telling someone what you’re planning on achieving and asking them to hold you accountable to it can be really helpful. Just having someone journeying with you, cheering you on and telling you to pull up your socks when you need it makes the world of difference. We weren’t meant to tackle life’s challenges on our own, sometimes we just need to turn to the people around us and be humble enough to say ‘hey, I’m struggling to get through, do you think you could help me?’. Having someone who can re-evaluate your plan along side you is also really helpful. Someone to say ‘hey, you’ve bitten off a bit too much here, reel it back’ can be the difference between make or break.
I hit a point last year when I realised I had actually bitten off quite a bit; with two part time jobs, young city ambassador responsibilities, starting up and running a new city initiative, travelling overseas and running a Ministry, there was SO much going on. Yet I was so convinced I could write as well *facepalm. When I didn’t produce the kind of writing I wanted to, it would bring me down and I’d feel defeated. That certainly wasn’t motivating me to write for a while. Then I’d try again. Still not what I wanted to write. A vicious cycle. Most of the people around me kept saying to me ‘you’ll get there, just keep trying’. A couple of really good friends said ‘Actually, you have a crazy load right now. Just think about it for a second would you? Is this plan do-able right now?’. They were SO right. I did have a lot on and I needed to re-evaluate and RE-ADJUST both my expectations and my plan of writing, and set more sound goals.
This year my goal of writing is much more manageable, realistic, and achievable AND…. it’s actually bringing me JOY. I hope you are ready to re-tackle that resolution of yours, because all is definitely not lost.
My love and prayers assured,
Stina was born and raised a Norwegian and completed her Bachelor of Psychology and Master of Social Work in Australia. She was the former Young Female Ambassador for Wagga Wagga, NSW. Stina currently works with both separated families as well as supporting families with children diagnosed with cancer and other life threatening illnesses.