Happy New Year!

Yes, it’s a brand-new year. Are you going to make a resolution? Considering a fresh start?

If you are like me, there are a few things on your TO DO list when ringing in the new year. And what better time to start fresh than now. Right?

Well, not exactly. You’ve heard of Christmas in July, how about New Year’s Resolutions in August? Just so you know this up front. It is better to start changes in August, not January. In August, we are geared up and ready to go. Maybe this is because we are conditioned to begin a new school year around August. So, January is a bit more challenging. And January is also the worse month for follow-through!

Now that you know this, do you still want to try? If so, be ready for a struggle. Only 8% of people actually follow through on New Year’s resolutions.

But I am here to encourage. These three things will help make those resolutions stick.

  1. Aim low, not high. This is especially true with weight loss. Don’t start the year with lofty goals like losing 50 pounds. Rather, begin with a small goal of 5 pounds, then 10. It’s psychologically easier to break down goals into small chunks.
  2. Stay the course. If you can go 90 days, you have a better chance of making a change. For example, think about the gym–most people who crowd the machines in January are gone by March. They haven’t made exercise a habit. So, from the beginning, make a commitment. You have to do the new thing over and over to sustain change.
  3. Find an accountability person. Accountability makes us pay attention. For instance, if you know the teacher will quiz you, you study! So, find a friend or loved one and make that person your accountability partner. Your odds for success will increase. And if you add a financial incentive, it helps even more.

Remember change is a process

Change is a process that involves several stages. Understanding those stages will help you evaluate if you are truly ready to make a change.

In order to change, people go from not thinking about the problem to:

  1. considering the pros and cons (ambivalence means you are not ready)
  2. making small changes (this is preparation and means you have begun the process)
  3. making change (this is where the action is, it is more than intention)
  4. incorporating change into your life (sustain the change by making it a part of your day)
  5. jumping back on the change wagon if relapse happens (just get back up and try again-it’s a process).

If you’ve made a resolution, you are at least on number 3. Congrats. Now, take those good intentions and put action to them. For example, if you decided to praise your children more, do so two or three times this week. If your goal was to help around the house, take out the trash or wash a floor. Maybe you wanted to be less critical of your spouse; if so, make it a point to tell him two or three things you noticed he did well this week. Small changes begin the habit of bigger change.

The key is to move beyond intentions and be the change. Keep plugging away at those resolutions, asking the Holy Spirit to empower you towards those goals. With God’s help, you can make those resolutions a reality and begin 2022 on a positive note.

I’m pulling for you!

Making a change