Guest Post: Decisions, Not Resolutions

Today’s guest post is brought to you by the letters Ad and Vil and the number 200(mg).  Thanks to my kids, I have a cold with a scratchy throat and sinus headache.  Thanks to James Prescott, you all get a fantastic blog post anyway.  Enjoy!

Patrick Mackie [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Why I’ve made decisions for 2013, not resolutions

Many of us make new year’s resolutions. But usually, even by now, they are a thing of the past.

If we’re honest, resolutions never last do they?

Why?

Because we haven’t changed. We’ve not made a decision. We’ve not committed to anything. We’ve simply elected to stop doing something we were doing, or start doing something differently.

All of us, whether we know it or not, want to grow. To change. This is the impulse which drives new years resolutions. But simply resolving to change won’t make any difference.

If we really want to change this year, we need to get back to our core values. Those ideals which guide us. And we need to make decisions based on those values. Not set goals, but make decisions based on values.

For example, we could have a value of looking after our bodies, being healthy. So instead of just resolving to lose weight and eat healthier – which we all know is going to fall apart within a week or two – we make a decision, a commitment to regular exercise and healthy eating.

Instead of some vague promise or resolution, we’ve made a commitment.

We’ve made a decision.

And we must get accountability with close friends – the kind who will tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear – to ensure we keep to those commitments.

We may begin slowly, but because we’ve made a commitment, we are more likely to stick to it. Because we are changing a value, not simply making a resolution, we are more likely to change in ourselves.

This is how we can affect positive change in our lives this year. For example, here are the values/decision commitments I’ve made going into this year.

  1. Have the value of respecting and loving myself – So many others respect me, value me and my gifts. I have a responsibility to look after myself, mind, body and soul. So this year I will take more care of my body by eating better, doing more exercise, and getting more good rest. I will take more care of my mind by reading more and studying the Bible more. I will take more care of my soul by spending more time with God.
  2. Committing to honour the gifts God has given me – Steward my writing gift well by producing great work, by writing regularly, by investing in growing my writing gift and by shipping, putting work out there for others to be blessed
  3. Deciding to respond to differently to temptation – when I am tempted to get angry unnecessarily, give into old/bad habits, comfort eat or be lazy, I will learn how to spot those moments and figure out how I can respond differently. How I can respond in a way which shows value and respect for myself and others, honours the gifts I have and honours God.
  4. Learn the value of self-discipline and hard work – don’t become a workaholic or disciplinarian, but do choose to work hard, be professional and also exercise self-discipline in diet, exercise, writing, work and dealing with temptation.
  5. Value others first & Choose to serve – I will choose to put others first, commit to learn to find joy in serving and preferring others, in listening and in giving.

I might not keep 100% to these. In fact, I probably won’t.

But because I’ve made a commitment to changing my values and decisions drawn from this commitment, I’m more likely to achieve real transformation.

I may slip up along the way, but unlike when we fail resolutions – where the first slip up means total defeat – I can pick myself up and learn from the mistakes. I still have those values and those decisions which I’ve committed to.

So how about this year, instead of resolutions, you go back to your values. Make a decision what values you want to live out in 2013, and make some decisions related to those.

Then by the time 2014 rolls around, you might find you’ve undergone some real change.

Are you ready to begin?

James Prescott is a writer & creative exploring how we find divine hope in the messiness of life. He blogs regularly at James Prescott.co.uk & is a regular guest blogger for several sites. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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