On Making Resolutions: A Life Left on Autopilot will Eventually Crash and Burn

I have a love/hate relationship with New Year's Resolutions. Statistics say that only about 45% of Americans even bother to make New Year's Resolutions. We are quite the motivated bunch, ay?

In 2014, the top ten resolutions were:

Lose Weight
Getting Organized
Spend Less, Save More
Enjoy Life to the Fullest
Staying Fit and Healthy
Learn Something Exciting
Quit Smoking
Help Others in Their Dreams
Fall in Love
Spend More Time with Family

Of those 45%, only 8% actually succeed in achieving their resolution. Clearly, the deck is stacked against me, so the "hate" side says why even bother. I'm not likely to be among the few, the proud, and the brave who actually achieve it anyways. They must be cut from a different cloth--a sturdier, more resilient cloth. Something like canvas or leather. I'm more like the cloth you find on the clearance rack--the funky, bright colored one no one else wanted that's kinda thin, uneven, and frays easily.

The number of people who never succeed and fail at their resolution every year is 24%. Much better odds there.

But the "love" side has one vital piece of data to volley back for the win:

People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.

Bam. Take that sturdy fabric. Everyone likes the clearance rack better, anyways.

So basically, more then half of America is screwed before they even get started this new year.

Are you among them?

I'm kinda tempted to be. Take the easy way out, or what seems like the easy way, at least. But it's like what I've learned about food over the last year or so: what's easiest isn't always what's best. What's convenient isn't always what's good for you. In fact, it's usually the opposite.

You see, setting goals is the easy part. Anybody can do that:

lose weight

Pencil + paper + two words. Done.

The hard part comes afterwards. The follow-through. The finishing. The keep on keepin' on when that's the last thing you want to do. Because you're tired and have had enough and see an easy way out. When you don't feel like working so hard anymore with all the planning and preparing and stuff. The dying to self nonsense. Sometimes you just want to do what you want to do without thinking about the consequences. 

But there are consequences. Because a life left to its own devices, on autopilot, will eventually crash and burn just like anything else. It's inevitable. Ever drive down a street in the city and see the majority of the houses boarded up, paint peeling, roofs sagging, wood rotting with the decay of neglect? Or the child who was never given boundaries or the appropriate discipline or direction while he was young, only to have his freedom locked up behind steel bars because the will could no longer be controlled? 

In order to succeed, there needs to be a plan. Goals. Boundaries and effort to live within and thrive in those boundaries. Hard work and sacrifice. Upkeep and maintenance on a house, parenting skills and love to shepherd a child, and intentional goals and a strategic plan in life. 

And not just any plan, a detailed plan. How will you lose weight? What will you do, each day, to get there? What is the number you're working towards? Write it down. And then tell a friend or two or five, because Lord knows you will need the encouragement and accountability in the valleys. You also need to be prepared to accept the accountability when it smacks you in the face and tells you to keep moving. The valleys will most certainly come, because by June only 46% of the people who made resolutions to begin with will still be working on maintaining them. And to me, that number seems kinda high...

It's not enough to write down lose weight and expect it to miraculously happen on it's own. It won't. That's how I operate most of the time, though, unfortunately. I just sort of "wing it" in life and settle for good enough. Kinda nailing it. Sorta. Because anything above and beyond mediocre requires hard work and discipline, and in my selfish nature, I don't often want to do that.

And more often then not I don't want to strive towards improvement because I miss the value and the worth there. I miss MY value and worth. I don't see it. Because if I could truly grasp my potential or who the Lord has created me to be,  I would never stop running towards that goal. I'd be unstoppable. 

If I don't give life my all, if I settle for just winging it and hoping it all works out okay, I've bought a lie. I've succumbed to the false belief that ultimately I'm not important. That my time is of no value, that I have nothing to offer this world. My friends, there could be nothing farther from the truth, but the Enemy would love for you to buy into those lies. And stay there all year among the other 55%.

Let me be the first one to tell you this year:

You are worth it. You are more then a cheap clearance rack fabric with fraying edges--you are a beautiful, strong tapestry, meticulously and artfully woven together by the designer and Creator Himself. You are valuable, and what your unique, beautiful life has to offer this hurting world is important. YOU are important. You are worth fighting for.

So fight.

Make a detailed plan. Start small. Climbing a mountain and changing the world {or your life} are achieved the same way: one step at a time. One choice at a time. One day at a time. Let's fling our inadequacies behind us and look ahead. To possibility. Let's focus on the goal and keep pushing forward. Let's do this. And I'm starting to sound like a Home Depot commercial. Hey, if a voice-over by Josh Lucas would help a sister out, just insert that here and read on.

But the times when you can't do it, when you simply can't go on another step, remember that He can. And He will always give you the strength you need to keep going. Because what He wants more then anything is for you to look more like Him each day. As long as you're seeking Him, nothing in heaven or on earth can stand in you way. 

Yes, it will be hard. Hard work is by very definition HARD. You know, just incase that slipped by you unnoticed. But it will be worth it, because you're worth it, remember? And this world desperately needs people who care enough about something to work for it even when it sucks. Especially when it sucks. Because the world and the people in it are worth fighting for, too. 

Here's to the New Year and the New You, whatever that happens to be. I'm rooting for ya. Kindly return the favor? 


The unexamined life is not worth living. ~Socrates