Getting ready for the New Year is always an exciting time. It is a time to reflect on all that has happened over this past year and an opportunity to dream and to plan for the upcoming year. I wholeheartedly believe that God has big plans for me – and for each of you (Jeremiah 29:11) – as we get ready to start 2016.
New Year’s Goals
Every year, millions of people make resolutions and layout goals, setting their sights on where they intend to be by year’s end. A good friend helped me distinguish between goals and resolutions:
- Goals: an intended outcome that you hope to accomplish
- Resolutions: a firm decision to do or not do something
Many of our hopes and decisions come from a place of wanting to do something great that positively impacts ourselves, our families, and the world around us. Though I am not a huge fan of what has become associated with “making New Year’s Resolutions”, I do think this is a perfect time of year to plan for the 12 months ahead.
Live a More Healthy Life
One of my big personal goals for 2016 is to live a more healthy life; for me that means growing spiritual, nourishing important relationships, and cultivating my emotional health. But that also means that I do a better job of caring for my physical health. The Apostle Paul writes to the Church of Corinth saying “your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) What an amazing gift from God! His Holy Spirit lives inside of me. That motivates me to care for the temple of God that He has entrusted to me. This means that I seek to eat more healthy, get enough rest, and exercise, while at the same time seeking to be filled by the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18) So what happens between the time we set our eyes on the new year, with all of our goals and resolutions, and the middle of January – or whenever it is – that so many people fall off the horse?
Doing Something About It
Yesterday morning I peeled myself out of bed to go to the gym and punish (sort of) my body at Cross Fit. (For those of you who are not familiar with Cross Fit, count your blessings.) What I did not know was that my coach had prepared the hardest workout I have ever experienced! At first glance it looked pretty simple but he kept telling us “it would be hard”! (Quite possibly the understatement of the century.) The first 10 minutes felt like a piece of cake, but without question it was HARDER than anything I’ve ever physically done. It was so bad that I really considered quitting (about 50 times over the next 35 minutes).
Staying committed to accomplishing our goals is hard work! The bigger the goal, the harder the work. So what kept me going? And how does this relate to keeping focused on our goals? There was a critical recipe that helped me make it all the way through. So here is what I was reminded of yesterday:
- Guidance: As much as I wanted to do the entire workout, just like all of the other guys, my coach highly suggested (maybe it was more like insisting) that I scale my workout down a bit. Had I ignored the guidance I received, I am almost certain I would not have finished.
- Humility: Sometimes we get such tunnel vision on doing what we think is right – without inviting the right people to guide us – because of our lack of humility. However, all of the guidance in the world does little good without a willingness to humbly submit to the Voice of God in our lives.
- Encouragement: As much I was thought of quitting, watching others aiming for a similar goal encouraged me to keep on going. It is critical to surround ourselves with different types of people that share the variety of goals we have. (see Hebrews 10:24-25)
- Truth: “You can’t! You won’t! It’s not that big of a deal! What you have done is already good enough.” The voices in my head kept trying to make me throw in the towel. But I had to hold onto the truth that “I could, I would, and I will!”
- Resilience: I wanted to quit over and over and over again. But I didn’t. I kept fighting and fighting until I could see the goal in sight. It would have been so easy to quit but the joy of finishing was so much greater than the temporary comfort I would have received had I stopped short.
- Courage: “What if I faint? What if I get hurt? What if something worse?” Doing hard things requires the courage to keep fighting in the face of adversary and overwhelming circumstances. (see Joshua 1:1-9)
- Nourishment: Feeling like I was going to collapse – before, during, and after my workout – I knew I had to remain hydrated (partly because the coach kept yelling at us to drink). As soon as I finished I had to eat. I went straight to my car and inhaled my breakfast!
If you’re committed to reaching your goals in 2016, get the guidance you need, have the humility to listen, surround yourself with people who will encourage you, keep yourself grounded in the Truth, have the resilience to continue fighting, take courage from God to keep going, and be sure to keep your soul, body and mind nourished.
Go Big or Go Home!