By D. Lanier Shook January 8, 2019
Most of us have made New Year’s Resolution and although they are the subject of many jokes, this is a good thing. New Year’s Resolutions show a hope for the future and a belief that we can change — no matter how unlikely. The other day on America In the Morning I heard the statistic that most resolutions last until the middle of February. These articles are intended to help you at least extend that period of time and maybe keep your resolutions all year long. This article takes a look at New Year’s Resolutions in general and discusses what it takes to keep them.
Personally I’ve had definite goals for about ten years now, although I’m not sure I’d call them resolutions. Almost five years ago the Lord led me to change the focus in my life. I’d been laser focused on one goal and He showed me there was a lot more out there that I needed to do. I spent three months pulling together a plan — code named EPIPHANY — for the next year and like most resolutions, it died a slow, whimpering death.
Over the next few years I fine-tuned my annual plans and in the process realized several facts about resolutions and plans in general. This leads to the first fact about plans which I’m grandiosely dubbing Shook’s Law of Planning.
SHOOK’S FIRST LAW OF PLANNING — A successful plan is limited by the realism of the goals and the ability to apply resources.
You can spend three months pulling together a plan to do something — say write ten thousand books — but if it isn’t realistic then its bound to fail. You’ve failed before you start. Making the resolution is great — everybody needs a goal — but if your goal is not realistic then you’ve already failed. Jesus laid this out very clearly in Luke 14:28 where he said, “For which of you intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first and counteth the cost whether he have sufficient to finish it?”
At the same time it doesn’t matter what you’re goal is, if you fail to follow up then you’ve failed. If you have a doable plan — write one book in a year — but you don’t allocate the time then you might as well have set a goal that isn’t doable — say, invade Russia in winter. Unless both come together your goal will fail.
So, let’s wrap it up and help your New Year’s Resolution.
First, EVALUATE YOUR RESOLUTION
Is your resolution realistic? Running the Ironman is a great goal, but if you haven’t run since high-school let’s settle for a 5K. Invading Russia is always an option if you’re Germany or France, but if you’re a small pre-Imperial German state like Prussia you should settle for Denmark.
Do not be afraid to reset your resolution. Its not a sign of weakness, its a sign of wisdom. If you’re already slipping, you won’t gain any traction. Its better to settle for half than get nothing.
Second, EVALUATE YOUR RESOURCES
What do you have available? Money, time, support are all factors in accomplishing your goal. When I set my goals for this year I set the bar low. I’m still just as ambitious, but now I recognize a firm foundation goes along way to building a strong structure. If I can achieve a little this year it will lead to even more later.
Tomorrow I’ll share a strategy to help you achieve your New Year’s Resolution. (Its one I’ve used to change my behavior. It really works!)