Friday, March 4, 2016

2016 Resolutions: Conclusion

When we began this 6-week journey together, to discover how we can be successful in achieving our 2016 New Year’s resolutions, I didn’t realize how quickly the time would pass. Can you believe that this is the final post for this series?! So far, in addition to the Introduction to this series, we also covered “Choices”, “Changes”, “Challenges”, and “Compensations”. Today, we’ll review and wrap-up this series with the “Conclusion”.

I felt prompted to write and share this 2016 Resolutions series, which stemmed from my 2-part New Year’s article, “Shape Your Life,” using both biblical truths and counselling principles. In the Introduction, I shared that part of my research revealed that 50% of us have given up on our resolutions by the sixth-month mark. This year I wanted to try something different by exploring the elements that produce the positive goal-achieving results we all desire. So, we began by differentiating between popular “bucket lists” and resolutions lists, noting that resolutions are often perceived to be negative due to the focus on the things we need to give up or stop doing. In addition, we noted that many of us have not had a concrete plan of action for achieving our goals and have experienced the disappointment of broken resolutions with the accompanying feelings of failure and defeat. We also reflected on the Scriptures that reveal that Jesus demonstrated and taught about the importance of having a plan of action.

In the first section, “Choices,” we discovered that choice is the first gift God gave us. To have choices means that we carefully consider our options and then we are freely able to select the best ones. We learned that counselling principles support the Biblical teachings regarding the need for us to use this gift of choice wisely to make healthier decisions. To quote Maya Angelou, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” So, no more falling back on the idea that, “I had no choice.” However, when in crisis we may need support from an unbiased individual to help us determine our choices.

The section on “Changes” was very encouraging as we reflected and determined that small changes add up to big results, that ‘carry over’ resolutions are most often a sign of progress vs. failure (we may simply need more time to accomplish them), and the exciting and hopeful realization that we are usually not ‘starting from scratch.’ Both counselling theory and Scriptural principles demonstrate that we are a work in progress: “ God began doing a good work in you, and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again,” (Philippians 1:6, New Century Version). The clear conclusion is that New Year’s resolutions are not about extreme self-makeovers.

Of course, if we are going to be putting in time and effort, we want to reap the rewards, the “Compensations.” We noted that some of the rewards surpass individual goals, such as taking charge of our lives; learning from our mistakes; expanding our resources; improved health (heart, soul, mind, and strength).

This brings us to the “Conclusion”—except that, in a very real sense, this is not the end but the beginning of a new year that’s filled with opportunity

Remember: The goals that we choose are selected to bring balance to our lives. May we all get the vision and motivation that we need to move forward with our 2016 New Year’s resolutions! 

Don’t give up—we can do this!  Many blessings for this New Year!

Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk
Former Salvation Army Officer/pastor

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