Did you know that today, yes, today, is the day for resolutions? For new starts? For change?
My calendar is working just fine, thank you. I’m not a week late with this post.
What I mean is this: there’s nothing special about January 1 for the Christian. God’s mercies are new every morning. As we grow as Christians, we are lead by the Spirit in a pattern of conviction, confession, and repentance. In this sense we are always starting fresh and making new faith-fueled efforts to follow Christ. (These efforts must be grace-fueled as well, so that our efforts flow out of our standing as children of God, not in an attempt to earn such a position.)
If you see something amiss in your life, you should not wait until a momentous occasion to make a change—do it now! I’d point you to this 2009 article by John Piper encouraging his church to make autumn resolutions as an example.
So, don’t dwell on January 1. Dwell on God and following Him by faith. Might He want you to pinpoint specific patterns or habits in your life that should be tossed to the side? Might He want you to adopt some specific God-glorifying practices? How are you going to make that happen?
Here are just a few pieces of advice that I’ve picked up through the years to help me establish patterns of change in my life.
- Choose your goals wisely. Your goals should be realistic but stretching at the same time.
- Write it down. Either on paper or somewhere on your computer, commit to this change.
- Tell someone else. Pick someone to whom you’re close and give them the freedom to ask you occasionally about these goals. A spouse, family member, friend—these could all be good choices.
- Track your goals. Find a system that works for you and use it. I use a really simple but useful service called Joe’s Goals. Whenever my web browser opens in the morning, I keep track of various patterns in my life that I’m trying to change. Then I close that page and forget about it. Until…
- Review your goals regularly. I review my goals monthly, and perhaps it should happen more frequently than that. But I have a recurring reminder to myself (I use Remember the Milk) to check in on my goals at the beginning of every month. And, once again, I write down the progress. Sometimes it is good, and sometimes it isn’t. And the goals can certainly change.
One last note: remember that your progress toward your goals doesn’t define you if you are a Christian. Your weight (or any other measurement that you’re tracking) is NOT the most important thing about you. Let your goals be your servants; they are not very nice masters.
Photo by kanelstrand, Creative Commons License