Ditch the Resolution Laundry List; Commit to One Meaningful Change - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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December 20, 2017

Ditch the Resolution Laundry List; Commit to One Meaningful Change

Are you a New Year’s resolution junkie? If so, you fall into the estimated 41 percent of Americans who valiantly try to “improve” themselves every January 1. However, the chances are that you don’t stick with your resolutions much past Valentine’s Day. Only 9.2 percent of people who made resolutions in 2017 felt they were successful in achieving their goals, according to Statistic Brain.

Why do people fail so consistently?
There are many reasons why it’s so hard to follow through and see these once-so-inspiring resolutions come to full fruition. Some of the most common include:
· Black-or-white, all-or-nothing thinking: One little slip up and the whole program gets dumped.
· Being too ambitious: Swinging for the fences with a resolution to “totally get off sugar forever” is a pretty high bar to set for yourself and impossibly hard to adhere to 100 percent.
· Setting nonspecific goals: In Statistic Brain’s chart, “lose weight/eat healthier” was the No.1 resolution set on January 1, 2017. You can see how vague and non-quantifiable that goal is. Likewise, “do more exciting things” and “work out more often.” How will you know if you’ve really succeeded unless you have a clear, specific, and measurable goal?
· Making too many resolutions: If your list of desired changes is longer than your grocery list, you’re setting yourself up for overwhelm and failure. “Shooting for the moon can be so psychologically daunting, you end up failing to launch in the first place,” writes Forbes contributor, Dan Diamond.

Make just one change
Why not try something different this year? Toss the bucket list and select one thing you’ll do, or not do, that has deep personal meaning for you. Maybe it’s something you keep wanting to do but don’t make the time for. Perhaps it’s a character trait or mental habit that keeps you from being your most loving and best self in relationships with others.
Here are a few suggestions to help you zero in on an area of your life that could benefit from focused attention:

Commit to a daily prayer and reflection period. If you’re not already dedicating a specific block of time each day to strengthening your conscious connection to God, this is the year to begin. Set aside 15-30 minutes at the start or end of your day for Bible study and silent contemplation.

Create a gratitude journal. Start a habit this year that is known to increase happiness and deepen relationships. Buy yourself a lovely bound journal in which you list three things at the close of every day for which you’re grateful. Be very specific in naming the event, experience, person, or thing that brought joy and goodness into your life, and savor the positive emotions you feel as you record and relive it.

Take more risks. Challenge yourself to lean into your fears this year. At least once a day, resist the “easier, softer way” and push yourself to step out of your comfort zone. Only you can determine the specific types of acts that require an extra dose of courage, but some examples might include saying “I’m sorry” when your pride is still wounded or being the first person to speak up in class when the professor asks for questions.

Give more of yourself. Whether it’s time, money, attention, physical labor, or a supportive ear, find one thing every day that someone else needs and offer it freely.
" Give to others, and you will receive. You will be given much. It will be poured into your hands—more than you can hold. You will be given so much that it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you.” – Luke 6:38 (ERV)

Before you choose your one resolution . . .
When trying to decide which of the many possible behavior changes is the most meaningful and appropriate for you, follow these suggestions from GotQuestions.org’s article on resolutions for Christians:
1) Pray to the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5) in regards to what resolutions, if any, He would have you make.
2) Pray for wisdom as to how to fulfill the goals God gives you.
3) Rely on God’s strength to help you.
4) Find an accountability partner who will help you and encourage you.
5) Don’t become discouraged with occasional failures; instead, allow them to motivate you further.
6) Don’t become proud or vain, but give God the glory:
“Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.” Psalm 37:5-6

If you’d like to learn about the biblically based, Christ-centered education at Geneva, we’d love to chat with you. For more information on how Geneva College can help you pursue your career goals, please phone us at 855-979-5563 or email web@geneva.edu.