“You don’t want to watch this game…it’s only three minutes in and they’re already down by a touchdown.”
This statement struck me for several reasons. First of all, I’m a die hard fan of any team I support, and it just so happened in this case that I had special faith that my Georgia Bulldogs would fight to the end. For the record, I was right and they won the 2018 Rose Bowl! They lost in overtime at the National Championship, but I’m still proud of them and what they accomplished this year.
Secondly, this is the exact attitude people take with New Year’s resolutions. It seems to go the same way for almost everyone: you get about three weeks into your resolutions and your resolve starts fading. By month three, your resolve has dissipated and you’re right back into old habits. According to statistical research, 41% of Americans make resolutions every year; only 44.8% of those keep up with their resolutions past six months. If you take all of this at face value, it’s discouraging to say the least.
But what if the problem isn’t so much our resolve as our resolutions?
Last year I took part in a program in which members refused to make New Year’s resolutions. Instead, we were supposed to focus on developing positive daily habits that improved our lives for the long run. This idea seems to be revolutionary but is really just simple psychology: if you can focus instead on developing small habits one day at a time, you are far more likely to change your life permanently. Phrases such as “baby steps” and, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” come to mind.
I’m here to tell you – IT WORKED. I loved it, and while I still didn’t achieve everything I wanted, I was far more successful than I have ever been before. I had a baby (ok, not a real resolution, but it counts for something, right?), finished my Masters, and read over 50 books. I didn’t lose weight like I hoped, but I gained new perspective on the importance of overall health and wellness.
I also chose a word for last year – GRACE. I noticed throughout the year that God put that specific word in front of me frequently and purposefully. I learned so much about God’s grace!
This year I have a big announcement. BIG.
I’m not changing my approach.
I guess that’s not really a big announcement at all, but it’s big for me. For years, I was a habitual resolution maker with absolutely zero resolve. 2017 taught me that my resolve is steeled by the small successes found in forming small but impactful habits. It’s the foundation of Healthy Habits Happy Moms (HHHM), a health and fitness group that is taking over the internet and literally the world. Thousands of women are tired of BMIs, diets, cleanses and regimens that just don’t work. Instead, they’re finding that the slow-but-permanent changes they made are revolutionizing not only their health, but also their self-image.
Don’t get me wrong here – I’ve got goals for 2018, lots of goals. But they’re purposely designed to start with small changes and build on the foundation those changes provide. Here are some examples:
- My first goal is to drink more water. Last year my husband and I challenged each other to drink one gallon of water every day for 30 days. This single change improved my skin, my sleep, my workouts, and my headaches were GONE. Instead of just a month, I need to make this a daily goal, even if I don’t always get as much as a gallon in one day.
- When I start drinking more water, I’m more motivated to get more sleep. I’m in a difficult stage in life in which I still have little ones that don’t always sleep through the night. This means I need to get the best quality sleep possible. This means going to bed earlier, and maintaining a bedtime routine. Last year this involved adding washing my face and snuggling in to read a chapter of a book. I got away from this and noticed my stress levels immediately increased. I need to get back to this.
- When I’m more hydrated and getting better quality sleep, I’m more motivated to work on my fitness and overall health. Last year this meant going to our local recreation center to swim laps at least once per week.
Do you see what I mean? I plan to work on one small change at a time until it becomes habit. I may work on one habit in a couple of different categories (health, faith, organization, etc.), but I will only focus on one at a time in order to allow myself extra grace to make the adjustments.
I’ve got a huge year of changes ahead that will include moving across the country and starting a whole new life. I will need all the grace I can get this year! One last thing: I’m going to keep my word from last year – grace.
As I mentioned, I have a lot of big life changes coming and I’m going to need to focus on grace in those areas. But I’ve also been struggling with discovering God’s call in my life. What is His will for me? What can I do in 2018 to discover His plan and my purpose? I firmly believe that this blog is going to play a part in all of that, I’m just not sure what that will look like just yet.
I’m prayerfully moving forward with these goals, despite harboring a nasty cold for the last few days. Will you join me? What goals have you set for 2018? What word or verse will you cling to this year? I hope to hear from you soon.
Hapless but hopeful,