Did you make resolutions this year? Well, I hate to break it to you: You’re gonna fail. Why? Because resolutions don’t work. There I said it.
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Now, it’s possible, I guess, for someone to make a resolution and keep it for a good portion of the year, but, I guarantee you, more often than not resolutions will wind up rotting in the trash bon of your past.

But there is a way to make 2015 your best year ever.

Why Don’t Resolutions Work?

It’s important to understand why resolutions don’t work. I’m not going to go into the vast number of studies that talk about the psychology of all this, but I will talk to you about my personal experience.

Resolutions don’t work because of the way you word them:

  • I resolve to quit smoking.
  • I resolve to go back to school.
  • I resolve to save money.
  • I resolve to lose weight.
  • I resolve to take a vacation.

Some of these are bad because they are simply too vague. You want to go back to school? What school? For what reason? You want to save money? How much? How are you going to do it?

Resolutions like this fail because they aren’t specific enough to force us to make a plan and stick to it. Let’s say you resolve to quit smoking. Maybe you smoke your last cigarette at midnight, and then “That’s it!” and you just quit. Maybe you’re good for a couple of days, maybe even a week. Then, as you get back into the routine of work or school, one day the stress hits you hard and a friend asks you to join them for a smoke. It’s just one, right?

Well, newsflash: you just failed.

Let’s say you want to lose weight. January 1, 2015 7:00 am you wake up, and purge your house of sweets and all manner of leftover holiday food. You set up a menu of nothing but shredded wheat. rice cakes, and water. Eventually, your body begins demanding real nutrition and you cave while driving past a Taco Bell and order Two Gorditas, a Crunchwrap Supreme, a Giant Mountain Dew Baja Blast, and, since you’re going this far, decide to stop at Baskin-Robbins for dessert.

You just failed.

Now, you’ll carry that failure around with you like luggage. Maybe no one will point it out to you, but you know. And that failure will nag at you.

Resolutions just don’t work. Goals can. That’s true for you in your personal life, your marriage, your ministry, or even your church or business year.

How to Succeed

So, you can’t make a resolution. What do you do? You make goals. It’s about more than just rewording your resolutions. You have to make your goals S.M.A.R.T.

  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable – specify who will do it.
  • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

Looking at the resolutions above, “I resolve to lose weight” becomes instead:

  1. Specific – “I resolve to lose the 25 pounds the doctor said I needed to lose.”
  2. Measurable – “I will talk to my doctor or a nutritionist to help me craft a diet that is reasonable and will work for me and my family. Additionally, I will research and plan a basic exercise routine, and using this system keep track of my progress. My health will be measured not just by how much I weight, but by my performance in these exercises.”
  3. Assignable – I will perform the work of exercise and diet journaling. I will schedule regular sessions with my doctor to track my progress through physical exams and blood work.”
  4. Realistic – “I will not expect to lost 25 pounds my first week. I will trust my progress not simply to pounds lost but to exercise benchmarks.”
  5. Time-specific – “According to my doctor, I can realistically expect to lose 1 pound every week. Therefore, I will set a goal of six months from today to achieve this goal.”

These are goals not resolutions, and goals are something that you can achieve. More importantly, a goal is something that you can constantly pursue, while a resolution is, essentially, over the moment you “fail” to keep it.

I recently broached this subject in a sermon on Grace vs. the Law. While preparing for that sermon, I was reminded of these verses from the book of Lamentations:

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
– Lamentations 3:22-23

You may recognize this as part of the inspiration verses for the wonderful hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness.

“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see

And there it is; God gives you fresh mercy every day. Why can’t you give yourself the same? Don’t carry around a bunch of guilt because of your past failures. Don’t resolve to do something vague and unquantifiable. Make goals. Do your best to keep them, and, if you slip, get up, embrace God’s new mercy and continue on.

How to Have Your Best Year Ever

2015 can be a great year for you. In fact, it can be your best year ever. You can make sure you have time for the people that matter, as well as time for the important projects.

Best of all, 12 months from now you’ll be looking back on 2015 with a smile thinking about all that you’ve accomplished in 2015.

I’ve already recommended to every one of my clients what I am about to recommend to you.

On Wednesday, January 7th, my friend and New York Times best-selling author Michael Hyatt will be delivering a special presentation called:

“Get What You Want This Year: 5 Secrets for Finally Accomplishing Your Biggest Goals”

You can attend (no charge), by clicking the link below:

Register Now to Attend the Free Webinar!

Whether you attend the webinar or not, I pray that 2015 is a great year for you! I pray that your endeavors succeed, your family is blessed and healthy, and that you will experience God in a new way each and every day.

If you’d like to register for the full Best Year Ever course, you can do so by clicking here.

[reminder]What are your plans for improving your life in 2015?{/reminder]

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