Resolutions That Stick

Happy New Year!  Well almost... As we get ready for parties or quiet nights, whipping together appetizer and setting our TVs to the ball drop in the Big Apple, most of us ponder the end of this year and the beginning of the next. 

New Years is a time of saying goodbye to say hello.  We set goals and dream new dreams.  And out of tradition we make resolutions.  

I don't know about you, but mine get lost somewhere between my New Years' Day celebration and the health club the following week.  I set my goals and promptly forget them until the next December when I get ready to do it all over again.  Or maybe you ignore the idea of resolutions altogether because you know you never get to them.  Or you resign yourself that next year will be the same as this year.  No matter how you approach resolutions - you are not alone. 

What's the problem?  Not sure I have all the answers here.  But as I sat and listened to our sermon on Sunday, our Adult Ministry Pastor touched on something.  Ready for it?  Here it is:  How we are doing is more important than what we are doing.  

We tend to focus on what we are doing.  You know, the things we get accomplished.  Or the number of times we actually went into the health club. Or the number of to do's we checked off.  And our resolutions are no different.  We tend to resolve a list of things to get done.  Lose weight.  Get healthy.  Get a new job.  Meet new people.  All what we are doing. 

But what if we changed the way we looked at resolutions?  What if we looked at resolutions as a quality to instill in our lives instead of a list of to-do's?  What if we chose to focus on a concept for a year instead of the "what" we are doing? 

Several years ago I was asked to teach a Sunday School class on a new "take" on resolutions.  I didn't know there was an old "take" and quite frankly, i wasn't quite sure what I would be saying. 

That was until I found this book.  A book that changed my life.  A book called My One Word.  The premise of the book:  down with resolutions.  Up with choosing a theme word for your year.  Down with focusing on "what" you accomplish.  Up with focusing on "how" you are doing. 

I tried it a little skeptically the first year and never looked back.  Something about choosing a word for my year made it stick.  I had monthly personal check-ins with how I was doing.  My friends created art out of my word.  And along the way, I learned how to intentionally choose how I would show up for a year.  

So this year brings a whole new word for 2016.  EMBRACE.  I'm choosing to embrace what God is doing in my life.  Embracing where I am at and where He is leading.  I'm embracing my single status and allowing God to use it in whatever way He sees fit.  I'm embracing my new food plan with food allergies and sensitivities.  And along the way, I hope to walk and learn what embracing really means. 

If you've never chosen just one word, you may be wondering how you get started.  How do I begin to choose a word?  

Talk to God

The best place to start is talking to God about your word.  He knows your heart.  He knows your life.  And He can help you pick your word. 

To be honest, most years, I start by taking stock of what God had already been doing in my life.  For the last few months, God has been speaking to me about embracing my present instead of my preferred future.  God has been speaking to me about allowing Him to use my single status.  And so what better way to honor where He is already at work than to choose a word that focuses on his work. 

Take Stock of Your Values

Each of us has values.  Some values we hold in common.  If your reading this blog, faith is probably one of those values.  But some of your values are not the same as your spouse's or your best friend's.  For some, we value peace, harmony, community, routine.  For others, we value you the new, risk, being brave, and adventure. Values can be about family or living a life of learning or work or play.  

Why are your values so important?  Because whether we are conscious of them or not, our values affect how we make decisions.  Values are the foundation of why we turn to the left or to the right.  

Which values do you want to honor in 2016?  How do you want to honor them in 2016?  Identifying a short list of values you wish to focus on may lead you to your one word for the year.  

Take the Leap

Brainstorm.  I typically just start brainstorming words to see how they sit with me.  Other years it seems obvious after talking to God and taking stock of my values.  For those of you who like to hash and re-hash, this is going to be painful.  Just take the leap.  Choose one word.  Don't overthink it.  Just trust your gut and choose.  

Guess what?  There's no rule saying you can't change mid-year if your word doesn't suit you or what God is doing in your life.  Be open and flexible.  Take your word and see where it takes you.  

One of my favorite coaching questions I like to ask is, "What is one experiment your can try surrounding this concept?"  Life is about experimenting.  We can reason ourselves out of it.  Or we can try it.  We can see what happens.  

God may just surprise you with a one word theme that draws you closer to Him and changes your life. 

I'm anxious to hear your "One Word"!  Comment here - I'd love to pray for you on your journey for 2016!