Monday, 31 December 2012
It’s the time of the year, best wishes, greetings and gifts are flying all around. Before we enter every New Year, hopes are high and everyone is feeling hyper. Almost everyone has got one resolution or the other, even kids do since it is the trend of the current dispensation.
The truth however is that resolutions, dreams and goals remain resolutions, dreams and goals respectively without an action plan. A wish remains a wish without a plan; and most resolutions are wishes. Also a plan that is not specific and has no action points is a daydream. These wishes cannot even “kill a fly”. What many people don’t realize is that you don’t even “need a brain” to make a New Year’s resolution or wish. No wonder, everyone has got a New Year’s resolution.
A New Year's resolution is mostly a pledge that a person makes to one or more personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit. It is known to have its origin in ancient Babylon where Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year to return borrowed objects and pay their debts. This is what has culminated in the naming of the first month of the year after the Roman god Janus (the god of doors and beginnings).
The fact however is that about 90% of those who make resolution fail miserably and they will always do, even though most of such people are very confident of success at the beginning of the year. People are just or too interested with going with the flow than making a difference. No wonder many people give up on their New Year’s resolutions by February.
Christians alike are not so different. On New Year’s Eve, many will be praying and probably fasting into the New Year. Many will be as usual “high” on New Year’s Eve and that alone will prod them to make gigantic resolutions which will die away latest by Valentine’s Day. Life can be better than all these.
WHY PEOPLE FAIL
Ok, so why do people fail? Better still, why have you been failing? I believe there are several reasons.
The truth is that people do what they want to do. As Ashley Null (the Anglican historian) puts it: “What the heart loves, the will chooses, and the mind justifies. The mind doesn’t direct the will. The mind is actually captive to what the will wants, and the will itself, in turn, is captive to what the heart wants. Most people’s hearts are not in their resolutions; they are just following a ‘fashionable ritual’. So at the end of the year they end up doing what they really wanted to do and not what they resolved to do. This is the problem with rituals: they seem to give meaning at the start of “the journey” but too soon they loose meaning and proper inspiration just when the journey is getting really exciting. Be different, don’t follow the masses.
First allow me to be Christian bias after that I will speak to everyone. Most Christians think they can change their lives just by summoning will power and trying hard. It is exceptionally hard to make changes in life; our efforts are doomed to crush when we try to do it on our own.
Secondly, let me speak it to everyone. Resolutions are actually the first step to achievements and not the second, third and so on. New Year’s resolutions are announcements of our desires, decisions or intentions that have not been ‘clothed’. Just making a New Year’s resolution without a detailed action plan is a great indication that you are irresponsible. I personally won’t believe anyone who claims he/she has resolve to do a specific thing in the coming year if that person doesn’t show me his/her plan of action for that task ahead.
EVERYONE CAN CHANGE HIS LIFE
Just because you resolved in one day to change your life in the coming year doesn’t mean your life will get any better. Most New Year resolutions take few hours to make. That obviously will not transform your life no matter how beautiful they are. Let’s call your resolution for the New Year your goals, dreams, aims or objectives. Having these dreams, goal or objective won’t change anything unless you have a plan to execute them. Chances are that resolutions, goals and dreams without plans will soon be forgotten.
Having a goal, aim or a dream is a step ahead. But how do you clothe them to realize that goal(s).
Is your goal a good one: So what exactly is your New Year’s resolution? Is it a habit you want to do away with or develop; build a house; improve a marriage or relationship; get a better education; make more friends; save money for a project or you want to womanize? Is that resolve worth your efforts, time and energies? If your resolution is not going to influence those around you positively or make the world a better place then forget it. A good resolution is one that will cause everyone around you to celebrate the victory and be really happy for you.
Personalize your goal: A lot of people want change in their lives not because they think they need it or because it will help them; but because they want to impress and make someone happy. Such resolutions will not inspire you enough to the point of achievement. Why do you want to lose weight? Why do you want to read the whole Bible? Why do you want to stop watching too much movies or pornography? Why do you want to know the Lord better? Your reasons must be strong and be you own enough to inspire you and keep you going daily.
Few Goals at a Time: Creating paths to achievement is crucial to every plan of action. The reason why so many fail with resolution is that they know where they want to go but don’t know how to get there. Others think they can get there all at once. For instance, if you want to change a habit, build a house, get a degree or read the whole Bible; you must be ready to set inspiring goals in connection to such dreams. To set inspiring goals break your goals into short term, medium term and long term. Your short term goals should lead you to your medium term goals then to your long term goals. Some goals are huge so you should break them into bits, that is, your short term goals must help you achieve the huge ones.
Goals should be specific, clear and measurable: You must set your goals such that periodically you will know where you stand in relation to your New Year’s resolution. Just as I have stated earlier on, you can’t achieve your goal in just one day. For this reason your goals must be broken down into bits. This makes your goals more inspiring, clear and measurable.
Let say for instance you want to change a habit in 2013. Resolving to change that habit cannot happen overnight. If all you got is a resolution to change that habit in 2013, chances are that you will fail drastically. To go beyond wishful thinking you have to have a clear and specific plan. You must know what you have to do or don’t have to on weekly and daily basis to help you do away with that habit. You must know where to go and where not to go; what to read, watch or listen and what not to on a regular basis. It will be expedient to contact matured people to help you in drawing your plan for such success.
If you want to improve your relationship or marriage you need to have a clear plan of what to do or say (for or to your partner) and what not to on a daily basis to improve your relationship or marriage. Just stating that you want to have a better relationship won’t change anything.
If you want to know God better, you also need a specific and a clear daily plan on how to grow closer to God. There are things you have to do like studying and meditating on the scriptures to help you achieve that. There are several habits you have to do away with so as to make enough time to fellowship with the Lord. Furthermore, there are words, information and philosophies you have to take note of or not to help such course.
It the same thing when you are dealing with a goal to build a house. You ought to have a daily plan that will eventually lead to the completion of your house. Without a plan your resolution to build a house will be a mirage. You need a plan on how you are going to raise the necessary money for the project; money to buy the blocks, cement, wood, iron rods, roofing sheets et cetera. Not just that; you need a clear plan on where you want the project to be at monthly, weekly or daily within the year.
In Luke 14:28 – 32 Jesus says, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.” So God want you to build; he wants you victorious but He knows without an action plan men will come mocking you. You see, it doesn’t matter what God wishes for you or how many prophecies are pronounced on your life without an action plan you will get yourself stuck in a rut.
You need Help: Setting a goal is not an easy task. At least it is not as cheap as having a resolution for the year. A goal properly set is halfway accomplished. To properly set your goal(s) you need to do some consultation. You need to research and ask people who have been there some important questions. For instance, if you want drawing your plans to build in the coming year you need to consult people who have already built to help you in designing plan for the project. If you want to know the Lord better you need to consult matured Christians who will advise as to what to do daily to draw closer to God.
Leave margins: Great people I believe are the ones who can anticipate evil and take the necessary actions to mitigate such evil. If you are planning to build a house make provision for unforeseen events. Make allowance for situations where things go wrong. Expect the best but always prepare for the worst. What will you do if plans you have for your marriage doesn’t turn out as you expected? What will you do if you are tempted by an appetite that cripple your chances of a changing that habit. People that live effective lives are those who can make provisions for what many will not expect. These are people who have their strategies in place for a Plan B if Plan A seems not to be working.
Take it to the Holy Spirit: Now that you know exactly what you want and the proper actions to take to get what you want; take your blue print to the Holy Spirit. John 16:13 says, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” The Spirit of God can give you enough wisdom as to how to go about the whole thing. He can even advice you on the necessary changes that you have to make to the plan because He know what tomorrow brings. The Contemporary English Version of Proverbs 16:1 says, “We humans make plans, but the LORD has the final word.” The English Standard Version of Proverbs 19:22 says, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” That is to say God has His purpose and they will stand yet your plan is important. Taking your goals and plans to the Holy Spirit makes them complete. At the end of the day you find yourself fulfilling the very purpose of God. That makes things more exciting. Philippians 2:13 says, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
Repetition: Now that you have the stamp of God with regard to the goals of the year, tell people about your goals, the right people of course. Tell friends, family and others about what you plan on doing. Do that on a daily basis. This will create a consciousness and a force- field around you that will propel you to higher heights. Repetition is the mother of lasting impression and the father of action. Telling others about your dreams will create passion in you for accomplishment. Telling yourself daily that you going to achieve A or B can keep you focus enough to accomplish what you’ve set on your heart to do. The people you share your dreams with can hold you accountable when it comes to the progress you are making with regards to your New Year goals.
Action Now: With everything in place, don’t hesitate to hit the road running. Write your goals on paper and place it somewhere you can see always. Don’t fail to review your goals regularly to know where you are and whether it is necessary to make adjustment to maximize your accomplishments. Take steps or actions every day that will bring you toward achieving your goals. Stay discipline and focused; don’t allow the appetite of the moment steal your success. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you are a step closer to your destination.
By now, it is obvious you’ve realize that you have more work to do than you expected. You probably have to go back or revisit your so called resolutions if you want look back and say “I have fought a good fight”.
With all these in place you can face the New Year with confidence. With a map in your hands to help you navigate your way through the year chances are that you will not ask for a bail out when difficulties arrive. Rather you will ask yourself, “How am I going to solve this problem”? People who set goal or have an action plan are committed people. They don’t accept excuses; they only look for results. Resolutions take only few hours to make but setting proper goals take painstaking efforts, research, consultations, time and fellowship with God. So, wouldn’t you rather set a goal(s) for the New Year than just have a mere New Year’s resolution?
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