In a blog post titled Successful New Year Resolutions Mark Herringshaw proposes these five steps that goal setting experts say will "dramatically increase the likelihood that New Year resolutions will prompt genuine transformation in our lives":
- Make our intentions measurable and specific. I need to lose weight and I'm putting that objective into a concrete goal: "I will weigh 185 pounds on March 8, 2010 and stay there until December 31, 2010."
- Write them. Putting goals into words works a wonder. Psychologists suggest this exercise frees the left brain from asking "what?" and releases the right brain to solve "how?" I'm putting goals into words here and now... You can do the same in the comments section below if you choose!
- Tell someone. Asking for accountability from someone we trust brings extra leverage to our commitments. I'm sharing my resolutions with a friend I'm meeting with tomorrow. On top of that, I'm going public with one of them here...
- Formalize no more than five personal goals at a time. Five is the capacity of our focus. Trimming my "wishes" down to five priorities is difficult but necessary if I'm going to move beyond "hope" to "will."
- Pray. Yes, pray. I realize up front that I'm doomed to fail with all my plans to change myself. Yes, disillusion too is a necessary step, and with it a cry for help. Jesus once said, "Apart from me you can do nothing." In other words, all my intentions and plans AND commitments and disciplines Will in the end fall short. I'm not strong enough or focused enough, even with all the right strategies. Yes, I can improve the odds of success, but I can never dodge Jesus' tenet: "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." My spiritual mentor, Morris Vaagenes once put this principle into a prayer: "I can't, you can, please do, thank you!" That is the key to transformation... and resolution... I can't. Jesus can, through me. I can ask for that change, and then thank him for that completed promise.