The One New Year’s Resolution that Actually Works

new-yearsHere we are again. One calendar year is closing while a new one is just beginning. Something seems to happen in many of us this time of year. We feel the urge to make new year’s resolutions. But if we are honest with ourselves, these resolutions just do not work. Research has calculated that 90% of resolutions started on January 1 have been broken by February 1. After just one month, 9 out of 10 people have quit their life changing commitments. And by spring time, most of the remaining 10% have also failed. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why so many people try to make these resolutions if they fundamentally do not work?

New year’s resolutions do not work because they are starting at the wrong place. When people make resolutions, they start with making their SELF better. That sounds really good, and in some ways it is, but it just doesn’t work because our SELF gets in the way of making our SELF better. Just look at the top resolutions people make every year. Every. Single.   Year. These resolutions are always at the top of the list. Notice the common theme: lose weight and get fit, quit smoking, learn something new, eat healthier, get out of debt and save money, travel to new places, be less stressed, drink less, enjoy life to the fullest, fall in love.

This time of year you are offered gym memberships at a discounted deal, you are told that there are magic drinks out there that will make you healthy, you see commercials about dating sites to find true love, and you watch advertisements about exotic vacations you cannot afford to pass up. Everything you see this time of year seems to focus on YOU being happy. But sadly, these things don’t seem to bring us lasting happiness.

These types of resolutions are all about SELF. This is why most people fail in fulfilling them. When we focus on our SELF, then we usually end up feeding what the SELF desires. And the SELF usually desires that which is not good for it. So, the reason most of us fail in keeping our resolutions is because we are starting with SELF. Where should we start, then?

Instead of making a short list of 2-4 resolutions you want to accomplish for this year to make yourself a better person, start with just one resolution. This resolution will force you to focus on something besides yourself. And that will ultimately be good for you. Are you ready for this resolution? Every morning, wake up with this goal in mind. This should be your mindset for the day. Here it goes: “Today, I will love God and because I love God I will show love to others.”

I have never heard this as a new year’s resolution. But this phrase is considered by Jesus as the greatest activity which you can be engaged in. This resolution is focused on God and others. Never underestimate the power of loving God and how that will change you from the inside out. When you love God with all your heart and you start to see people with God’s eyes, you become a better person. You will actually want to change in some areas for God, not just for you. You will want to change for the people you love, not just for you. When you love God and others, you will want to stop smoking. When you love God and others, you will want to become healthier. Do you see the difference?

I truly believe this is the only resolution which has supernatural power. Too many times, we try to find the courage deep inside of us to change, but after a month of trying on our own, we give up. For the next 365 days, start your day off with this phrase: “Today, I will love God and because I love God I will show love to others.” After just a few weeks of starting your day off with this focus, you will start to see God changing you in ways that you will appreciate. You will start to notice God at work in you during your day like never before. You will notice someone who needs your care and your heart will extend to them. And you might even notice an area God convicts you in which you need to change, and because you love Him, you will change.

Do you see the difference? When we change to please God, and it is genuine, we will be transformed. But when we change to please ourselves, we will usually fail. Commit to this phrase and make it your new year’s resolution: “Today, I will love God and because I love God I will show love to others.”

Hold off on that new diet, for now. Don’t sign up on that dating site just yet. Wait a little longer on joining a gym. Focus first on God this year, and these things will be added unto you. Will you commit with me this year to start off every day focusing on loving God? If you do, you will be fulfilled in ways you never thought were possible.

 

 

 

 

 

The Old Man and his Horse

As we are turning the page from 2015 to 2016, I would like to share with you one of my favorite stories. This legend has a wonderful lesson about patient wisdom and not stating too quickly whether something is a curse or a blessing. Enjoy…

horse

Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse. Even the king coveted his treasure. People offered fabulous prices for this horse, but the old man always refused. One morning he found that the horse was not in the stable. All the village came out to see him. “You old fool,” they scoffed. “We told you that someone would steal your horse. You could have sold him before he was stolen, but you refused, and now you are left with nothing.” The old man responded, “Don’t speak too quickly. Say only that the horse is not in the stable. That is all we know. The rest is judgment.” The people of the village laughed and thought he was crazy.

But after fifteen days, the horse returned. He hadn’t been stolen, but had run into the forest and returned with a dozen wild horses. Once again, the people gathered at the man’s house and said, “You were right and we were wrong. This was not a curse but a blessing.” But the old man responded, “Don’t speak too quickly. Say only that a dozen horses returned with him. That is all we know. The rest is judgment. If you read only one page of a book, then how can you judge the entire book?”

Maybe the old man is right, they thought to themselves, but deep down they believed he was blessed because he had a son who could now train those wild horses easily and then sell them for a nice profit. The old man had his only son train those horses, but after a few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both of his legs. Once again the village gathered and said, “This was a curse. Your son has broken his legs and you have no one to help you.” The old man responded, “Don’t speak too quickly. Say only that my son broke his legs. That is all we know. The rest is judgment. If you read only one page of a book, then how can you judge the entire book?”

It so happened that a few weeks later the old man’s country engaged in war against a neighboring country. All the young men of the village were required to join the army. Only the son of the old man was excluded because of his legs. Once again, the people gathered around him and said, “You were right. Your son’s accident was a blessing. Our sons are going to die, but you still have yours.” The old man said this: “No one really knows if it is a blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know. Only God knows.”

As something happens to you this new year, don’t judge the event too quickly. Be patient. Be wise in how you respond. We do not know how God is working out His purpose in our life.

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).