For better or for worse, it’s the start of the New Year, so it comes as no surprise that people are bound to have made their resolutions by now.
This practice holds true for people everywhere, and whether you’re a Christian from a church in Dubai or otherwise – you’ve probably promised to yourself that you’ll turn over a new leaf or engage yourself in new activities. Whether it’s going to the gym, saving money, or making new friends, one thing remains the same no matter the wish – the unfortunate truth that very few people actually carry these promises out for as long as they’d initially envisioned them.
According to a study by John Norcross and his colleagues, 50% of the population makes a new year’s resolution annually, but why is it that only a chosen few are able to carry them out to completion? Is it simply because most people are too lazy? The answer actually lies in another study, this time by Timothy Pychyl – he argues that some people are simply unable to change their already established habits and that new year’s resolutions are a way for people to try to do so; he says that it is a form of “cultural procrastination” – an effort to reinvent one’s self.
In short, it’s a wish everyone has about themselves and their future that they want to turn into a reality.
Resolutions are a way for people to tell themselves that they’re going to regulate what happens in the coming year; it’s their way of mentally setting certain events in stone. The future is uncertain and by telling themselves they’re going to reach a certain goal or induce a certain event, they feel as if they can exert (even a minimal amount of) control on what will happen to them in the future.
But before enforcing them, it’s important to choose the best resolution for one’s self first. Short – term goals that provide instant gratification are well and good, but long – term goals that give bigger benefits are leaps and bounds better. (Setting a standard for ourselves is of course important – if we don’t’ someone else will.) Far too often we choose the quick way, the easy way – “good” gets in the way of God’s best most of the time. We get so caught up in forcing change in our lives that we think will be for the better that we easily forget that God has a plan for us.
How God can help you reach your goals
First off, make sure that your goal is actually attainable. Make them SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely – this makes it so that you can “track your progress” as you fulfil your resolution, thus fuelling you to do even better as time goes by and progress is made. (This will keep you going throughout the year and prevent you from dropping your resolution in the first month or two as others do.)
The next step is to release all of your anxiety and doubt; place your trust in God that he will get you to where you want to go. After all, he can only help those who want him to; people must involve themselves in the process. Remember – he began his good work, you, and he will surely finish it. (See Philippians 1:6.) We as humans tend to see the problems of our past (and thus want to change it), but God instead sees the potential in our future.
Lastly, lead a life of purity and blamelessness – undoubtedly a tall order for most.
Philippians 1: 9-10 says:
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ…”
But what can it do for you? Well, purity brings clarity so you can see what’s best for you both in the short – term and the long – term. On the other hand, blamelessness can bring peace and inner freedom, allowing you to do whatever it is you want without having to worry about your conscience and keep up pretences.
Always keep in mind that God is a master, and he always makes masterpieces – you included. But, it takes a little time.