How many times in my life have I made New Years resolutions and failed miserably by January 15th? More times than I want to admit.
Why do we do it?
Go to the gym
Get out of debt
Ditch a bad relationship
What if your resolution was a matter of life and death?
It would be a lot easier to keep these promises to yourself.
Once a long time ago I taught classes on customer service which included a session on how to provide excellence in customer service. Better self esteem makes better customer service representatives. The best practice I found for getting things done and improving your self esteem is by making a keeping promises to yourself. It sounds kind of dumb and a little juvenile but it worked for me.
The premise is that when you can't even keep a promise you make to yourself how can you keep promises to your customers?
So with that in mind I began to teach keeping promises to yourself in baby steps and keeping these promises will become a habit. My example was something relatively easy making your bed. When you promise yourself that you will make your bed the next morning and then when you wake up you do actually make your bed. This sends a message to your self esteem that I am worthy of someone keeping a promise. It also sends a message that I am a responsible person who keeps promises too.
It does not have the same result if you just wake up and make your bed in the morning. Because you didn't promise yourself you would it is not noted by your self esteem that anything out of the ordinary happened.
However, if you promised yourself you would make your bed and then you did not make your bed it has a negative effect on your self esteem. It is a reminder that you are not worthy and also a failure.
Of course, making your bed or the failure to do so does not in itself make you a failure. It's just a bed and it was just one time. But over the course of a few weeks this could cause you to be in a bad mood and not even know why. This negative reinforcement is not healthy.
There are (2) two paths of actions. Obviously the first one is to make your bed. This will solve the problem. But the other is often overlooked as a problem at all; just stop promising to make your bed. This may seem like the best solution to some. If you don't make the promise to begin with then you can't disappoint yourself and you can't fail. The problem with this kind of thinking is that it leads to a dark place where you could fall into a depression cycle. Because you refuse to make promises to yourself and eventually to anyone else you can slip into depression.
I have found from personal experience that if I promise someone I will do something I am more likely to follow through with it than if I "intend" to help someone and they know nothing about it. I am not trying to lift myself up by telling that person I will do something. I have just made it a habit that if I say it . . . I do it. So obviously, you would have to have this habit in place already for this to work in your life.
What are your New Year's resolutions? . . . and as far as a NEW YOU . . . let God handle making you new. Please don't wait another minute thinking that somehow YOU will get cleaned up before you come to God. He already knows everything you have thought, done, said and felt. He wants you the way you are right now! His gift of grace is what will change you, not the other way around.
Please know that there are no resolutions that are life and death except one. This is following Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Without Jesus you cannot have life after death. Today is a great day to start following Jesus. The best way I know to find out if you want to follow Jesus is to read the book of John. You will see just how much God loves YOU and start to realize how much you need Jesus.