The new year is a popular time for people to make personal goals working toward transformation. While New Year’s resolutions can propel someone’s life into a better place, it takes diligence and intentionality to build obedience to new habits. Assistant Professor of Kinesiology Britney Finley shares a few tips on goal setting and mindfulness in maintaining a New Year’s resolution.
Each semester I teach my KINS 1010 – Wellness students that their goal for a behavior change plan must be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-oriented. We can apply these simple concepts in creating our New Year’s resolutions. I am elaborating on the R – Relevant. Let’s examine our resolutions in the light of author Bob Goff saying, “Comparison is a punk.” Is your resolution relevant and meaningful in your life or is your resolution based on the comparison game?
Ask yourself these questions: Am I wanting to change this in my life because I want to look or be like someone else? Is this goal about improving my body image or status? If the answer is yes – then we need to step back and examine our hearts. Let’s ask God to examine our motives in our resolutions and allow him to direct our goals this year. If we do that, then we can confidently invite his spirit to empower us, and if our resolutions align with his will then he will help us.
Make resolutions that are connected to God’s promises in scripture. Do you want to be burdened by things that break God’s heart? Have his eyes for people? Become a prayer warrior? Grow in relationship with Jesus and the father? Set your eyes (and your goals) on things above and allow his spirit to move in your life this year like never before.
Right now, ask God what he wants to change in your life. Then use these steps to make an action plan.
1) Ensure that it is attainable — not too ambitious. This will require that you research the topic to see what is appropriate.
2) Write down the goal in very specific terms with an ending date.
3) Eliminate current behaviors and replace them with behaviors that will help you achieve this goal.
4) Give yourself rewards along the way that encourage your changed behavior. This may seem silly, but research proves it works, and doesn’t God delight in us? He wants to motivate you and encourage you. Ask him what these rewards should look like.
5) Break your SMART goal into baby steps, and put a specific date with each.
Isn’t it amazing that God of the universe wants to help you become more like him? Let’s take our eyes off of others and focus on the true light of the world. Let’s obey Jesus’ words to John that remind us of our unique calling and not of others gifting, “What is that to you? You follow me.”