I just couldn’t let January slip away without a word about resolutions. Do you make resolutions for the new year? I don’t normally, but have on occasion.
Check out this definition of resolution: the quality of being determined or resolute.
Now look at some synonyms for resolution: determination, purpose, purposefulness, resolve, resoluteness, single-mindedness, strength of will, strength of character, will power, firmness, firmness of purpose, fixity of purpose, intentness, decision, decidedness.
Making a resolution seems to require quite a bit of determination and will-power according to these definitions. Sounds like hard work doesn’t it? What about those whose personalities don’t lend to this type of character trait? Maybe that’s why most people never succeed when resolutions are made.
So, am I saying just give up? Don’t try to make any positive changes in your life? Absolutely not! I’m suggesting a mind-shift…and not just in January.
I work out regularly at our local YMCA and one of my spin class instructors made a statement a few weeks ago that resonated with me. She said, “Make habits, not resolutions.” What’s the difference you ask? Let’s take a look.
Here’s the definition of habit: a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
And check out the synonyms: practice, custom, pattern, routine, style, convention, policy, wont, way, manner, mode, norm, tradition, matter of course, rule, usage; tendency, propensity, inclination, bent, proclivity, proneness, disposition, predisposition.
This sounds way more doable to me than resolutions! Take the first synonym for example. We can all practice something, can’t we? Practice means we haven’t arrived at perfection, so we need to do it over and over to get better. Sounds a whole lot easier than gritting my teeth with determination and feeling like if I miss a day, I’ve blown it. Practicing allows us to fail without the feeling of guilt when we miss a day, or don’t quite measure up to the goal. After all, we’re practicing, right?
When we put in the practice, then it becomes the norm for us, something that is hard to give up. My workouts have become such a habit, when something interferes with my normal routine, it’s hard for me to give it up.
So, how do we start a habit? Just one small step. We can all take a step. Choose one thing you can add, or take away, from your normal routine that will move you closer to your goal.
What area of your life do you want to improve? Maybe you want to develop a habit of healthy eating, exercise, scripture reading, prayer, building relationships, or something else altogether. Whatever it is, pray and ask God what step He wants you to take to begin developing a habit that will become a permanent part of your everyday life.
Join the conversation. Comment below and share what habit you’d like to develop. Or, share one small step you’ve taken, or commit to take, to move toward your goal. Use the share buttons to encourage others through this post.