Setting God-Directed New Year’s Resolutions
I am driving my husband crazy. Every time we have more than about three minutes to talk, I say, “So, let’s talk New Year’s Resolutions.” And he rolls his eyes, gives me a long, deep sigh and says, “Um…okay.” And then, he says absolutely nothing while I go on and on about all the things mulling around in my crazy brain about 2011.
I’m totally into New Years. I LOVE riding the huge wave of momentum created by an entire nation of people wiping the slate clean and looking toward a fresh, shiny new year. I love goal-setting and planning. I love TALKING about goal-setting and planning. I love PLANNING to talk about goal-setting and planning. It’s my spiritual gift, talking and planning.
My husband? Not so much.
That’s why I need you. While I so very much enjoyed taking the last few weeks off from blogging, I missed you all so much. I missed our chats. I really did! So today, I release Jon from this burden to “talk New Year’s Resolutions,” and turn to you, my virtual friends. Let’s plan and set goals! And then? We shall TALK ABOUT IT!
I’m so excited.
For me, setting my New Year’s Resolutions is serious business. It sets the tone for the entire year. It keeps me on track, as I measure my daily activities against my goals. In the mundane months of every-day-ness, should I start to feel frustrated or confused about where God has me, I look back at my New Year’s Resolutions and immediately feel more centered and focused. It’s a constant reminder of where God is leading me, at least for this year.
I actually start thinking about all of this in the late fall, and most certainly by Thanksgiving. I don’t randomly or impulsively set my resolutions. Not by a long shot. I brainstorm. I ponder. I dream. And then jot down ideas in my journal as they come to me. I pray over them and listen for God’s direction, usually for weeks, before determining what my resolutions will actually be.
Here are some of the general steps I follow in setting my resolutions for the year:
1. I ask God: There is a big difference between asking God to help me form my New Year’s Resolutions and forming my New Year’s Resolutions and then asking God to help me fulfill them. I’ve beat my head against many-a-wall, chasing a dream that didn’t originate in God’s heart for me. I constantly remind myself that some goals are good, worthy goals, but not all goals are God’s will for my life right now, or ever. My heart’s desire, above all other things, is to be in the center of God’s will. So, before any idea turns into a resolution, I ask God for wisdom.
2. I look at five major areas of my life: Spiritual (prayer, Bible reading, character-development, outreach), Relational (marriage, parenting, friends and extended family), Financial (saving, spending, giving), Work-related (for me, this is blogging and teaching), and Health-related (exercise and diet). I don’t always have goals in every category. Sometimes I have miscellaneous goals that don’t fit any category. This is just to get me thinking about all areas of my life.
3. I look at last year’s resolutions: How did I do on those? Can I cross them off my list? Do I need to continue working on them in 2011? Did a previous resolution develop into a new and different resolution? If I didn’t fulfill a resolution, why didn’t I? I try to be realistic, but not too hard on myself. Just because I didn’t reach one of my goals, doesn’t mean I failed. I don’t follow through on every resolution for a variety of reasons. Even with all my brainstorming and praying, I sometimes set unrealistic or misdirected goals, so it’s actually a good thing that I don’t follow through. Last year, for example, one of my resolutions was to submit one article a week for publication, either in a magazine or another on-line forum. But it only took a few weeks to realize how time-consuming this was. Researching possible venues for my work, and then crafting original material within each magazine’s specific submission guidelines took much longer than I realized it would. Since I only had a few hours a week to write, I realized a better use of my time was writing quality blog posts for my own blog and submitting articles only occasionally.
4. I look at my season of life and my unique family dynamics. It’s so tempting for me to look at my peers and feel compelled to accomplish what they accomplish. I constantly have to remind myself that I have children who need me…a lot! I have a four-year-old, who is home with me all day. I spend almost 2 hours a day carpooling and another hour a day over-seeing homework. I have a hard-working and ambitious husband who relies on me to run the household. Taking care of my children, my marriage and my home trumps any other opportunity life affords me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Even if other women choose to travel on the weekends for speaking engagements or be president of the PTO or work outside the home or run a home-based business, that is not me. At least not this year. I need to look realistically at my current season of life and set my resolutions accordingly.
5. I look at the Word of God. God’s been doing a lot of “scripture highlighting” for me lately. In my private prayer and Bible reading time, certain scriptures are leaping off the page. It’s crazy. I’m writing them all down, and asking God to show me what it all means for the upcoming year. God usually gives me one main verse to become my “theme” for the year, and it gets posted in a place of honor, in my direct line of vision—just above my coffee pot.
6. I listen to my inner promptings. My feelings don’t always dictate God’s will for my life, but many times God uses those little inner pushings and pullings to direct or re-direct my steps. Last year, as I lived out my every day, ordinary life, there were times I sensed strongly “this is not the way” and other times I felt an overwhelming “yes, this is it…keep moving in this direction.” I’ve been jotting all those things down and asking God for clarity, as I continue to live out my every day, ordinary life.
So that’s my insanely-detailed process. I’m curious, how do you determine your New Year’s Resolutions? Leave me a comment and tell me all about it. That’s right, it’s your turn…”Let’s talk New Year’s Resolutions.”
But wait! There’s MORE. Coming up on Wednesday, January 5th: I’ll be sharing some of my resolutions for 2011 and want to read about YOURS! I’ll have a linky thing ready to go. Get your New Year’s Resolution posts ready and link up on Wednesday. If you’ve already posted a New Year’s Resolution article, that’s okay. Just link to that one.
okay… let's talk =)
Wednesday, that's pressure! But I find such grace and peace in your #4!!
Love you and all your themes and resolutions.
I'm not a big resolutions person, mainly because they get such a bad rap by the third week of January. But I do like to set goals (maybe just a simple word for resolution!)
I'm "goaling" this year to:
Slow down – I tend to get over-hyper over lots of things. Burns alot of calories, but also lots of mental and emotional stamina that's needed for other things.
Stop comparing myself/family/situation/issues with others….like you wrote, there are only so many hours in the day and with the family committments/time, there just isn't room for alot more right now. And I want to savor up these years because I know how quickly they are gone and I don't want to have regrets!
That said, I'm still working out other manageable goals because though I'm one busy mama, I want to make a difference!
Glad you're back…I missed you too!
and I linked here today xoxo
I'll see you on Wednesday! 🙂
I'm in. Aleady started on my blog today. Just the My Body category.
You are a New Year's Resolution setting pro! Awesome! I feel all inspired now!!!
How do I set my goals for a new year? I pray! And I look at all the areas in my life that need a little tweaking…a little more time/attention…a little more organization!
Like you…I enjoy goal setting. Clean slates. Planning. It gets me all pumped 🙂
I hope you are having a wonderful week, Sandy!
Love and blessings to you,
I have always loved setting goals and I think you and I probably think alike in this area. I usually have different categories: Time for God, Time for family, Time for my marriage, Time for health etc.
This year, I am coming off a long season that has been difficult and I am not setting any traditional goals. (I know I will have some in my head . . . I just can't help it.) I am trying for more BEING and less DOING. This is the opposite of my natural inclinationl.
I'll link tomorrow, with my past of what I am doing this year instead.
Can't wait to read yours.
We missed you,
Love talking about goals, plans and thoughts for the new year….well all year really. Have you ever read Anne Ortlund's book….Gentle Ways of A Beautiful Woman? Wonderful book. She is all about goal setting, organization and decluttering. It is an older book, but filled with many gems of Godly wisdom.
Looking forward to your post on Wednesday!
Funny you should mention your husband "rolling his eyes" cause that's what I'm NOT supposed to do this new year. My husband doesn't even know I do this but the Lord does and that's what He impressed upon me to do… or Not do!