Monday, December 30, 2013

Make Commitments not New Year's Resolutions

During this time of the year we start to turn our attention toward the quickly arriving New Year. We think back over the last year and consider how we want to make this coming year better. We think about those places where we did not succeed with our plans and consider how we can be successful this year. We may even set those dreaded and often unsuccessful New Year's Resolutions.

Here are a few stats pulled from the internet, so you know they have to be true, about New Year's Resolutions. (

Stat #1: The number one resolution for 2014 is to lose weight.
Stat #2: Only 8% of people are successful at achieving their resolution.
Stat #3: 34% of the resolutions made are money related.
Stat #4: 75% of resolutions are maintained past the first week.  Only 46% are maintained after 6 months.

New Year's Resolutions aren't all bad.  It's good for us to have goals.  It's good for us to strive towards something that will improve our lives.  My suggestion for the coming year is to make a commitment, rather than a New Year's Resolution, to improve your spiritual life.  Growing closer to God in the coming year is a commitment that we should all strive toward.  When we make a commitment, rather than a New Year's Resolution, we will view it differently.  We'll see it as something that should last past the first week of January.  We'll see it as something that we need to stick to rather than waiting for January 1st to roll around again.  Here are a few helpful tips for sticking to your commitments to improve your spiritual life over the next year.

Write Your Commitment Down
If you'll write your commitment down there will be a reminder to help you remember your goal.  If you try to keep up with your commitment mentally, you may go days without remembering it.  So write down your commitment.

Post Your Commitment
Don't post it to Facebook or Twitter, unless you just want to, but post it somewhere you will see it every day and be reminded of it.  It may be your fridge, your bathroom mirror, or on your desk at work but post your commitment.

Share Your Commitment
God designed us to thrive in community.  One of the great aspects of community is accountability.  Share your spiritual commitment with a person who can help keep you accountable.  They may even want to set the same goal and the two of you can grow spiritually together. (As a side note on this one be sure you make your accountability partner someone of the same sex, man and man or woman and woman.  That is unless your accountability partner is your spouse.  This just helps keep lines from being blurred or crossed.)

Make Your Commitment Manageable
Don't make your commitment so difficult you can't accomplish it.  You have to find that fine line between a commitment that is so easy you don't grow but so difficult you give up.  If you want to pray 30 minutes each day and you don't currently pray with any real consistency, then start out slow.  Spend 5-10 minutes each day praying and plan to do that for a week.  By the end of the week you should see that 5-10 minutes isn't enough time to pray for everything you need to pray about so increase it to 10-15 minutes and so on.  Eventually you will get where you want to be.

Most Importantly...Don't Get Discouraged!
It's easy to throw our hands up and give up when things get difficult or we falter at our commitment.  If your goal is to grow spiritually then Satan will do everything he can to discourage you.  So if you falter for a day or two don't stress over it.  It happens to everyone!  Pick yourself up and get back at it.  If your lapse in commitment is due to sin in your life ask God to forgive you.  If you lapse causes you to sin, like not praying or not reading your Bible, again, repent and ask God to help you succeed at your commitment to Him.

I don't pretend to have it all figured out when it comes to commitments but these are some tips that will help you succeed at your commitment to grow spiritually.  

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