I love doing New Year’s resolutions. It’s a perfect opportunity to reevaluate where I am in my life vs. where I’d like to be (and where I should be). As I do every year, I recently wrote up my resolutions for 2009, and it was a great list of changes I would make and new habits I’d like to try to adopt.
But then I did something I’ve never done before: I took the list to Adoration to pray about it. This turned out to be the best thing I could have done. I walked in thinking about my goals for 2009 one way and, an hour later, walked out of the Adoration chapel with a completely different view of what my priorities should be. I came away with an entirely new approach to the whole thing, along with a clarity, peace and zeal that were not there before.
In case anyone is interested, here are the things I felt led to ponder as I prayed about getting a fresh start in 2009:
- I have a food addiction. My inability to control my intake of processed carbohydrates is having a significant impact on my life — in fact, it wouldn’t be inaccurate to compare it to a minor drug or alcohol addiction in terms of how it affects my mood, energy levels and general ability to function. I need to admit this, acknowledge its true severity, and deal with it. This needs to be my top priority right now.
- I need to stop “drifting” through my days. Some of my current feelings of being overwhelmed or stuck in a rut are because I don’t approach each day in a purposeful way. Too often I wake up and then just drift aimlessly from one thing to the next without ever thinking through the big picture of what my priorities should be for the whole day. What the most important things are that I need to do, what I’m going to eat, etc. are often left to being spur-of-the-moment decisions, and that sets me up for making bad choices.
- I need to plan for backsliding. In the past, I have approach New Year’s resolutions as one-time changes that I will make, i.e. I’ll adopt some new eating or cleaning habit, and once I get over the initial hump this will just be something I do for life. Especially with big changes, this is an unrealistic goal for me. Anticipating the fact that I have a tendency to slide back into my old ways and planning to regularly review my goals and renew my commitment will help me make lasting changes (and keep me from feeling surprised and defeated when I don’t get it right the first time).
- I need to let others help me. As an introvert, I have a tendency to want to accomplish everything in isolation. I want to be able to read a book, think about it, and make changes by myself, all within my own little bubble. But over and over again I’ve learned that that’s not how God wants me to operate. With every item on my resolutions list, I need to ask, “Do I know anyone who has accomplished this same goal whose wisdom I could tap? Whom could I ask for support with difficulty making these changes stick?”
- Any list of New Year’s resolutions should having growing closer to God as the ultimate goal. I need to remember this and ask myself with each one, “Is my true desire with this goal to better conform myself to Christ?” This is true not only of the goal itself but the way I approach it (e.g. you could approach a budgeting goal in a God-centered way or a greed-centered way).
After I got these insights in Adoration, I ended up scrapping my previous list of New Year’s resolutions and creating a new one with much more clarity. I’ll share my new list in Part II of this post. (And if anyone else has been thinking about this kind of stuff, I’d love to hear about it.)
Hope everyone had a great Christmas!
UPDATE: Part II with the list is here.
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