As the holidays come to an end it can sometimes feel like a let down. All the hype, busyness, preparation, excitement, and magic of the holidays is over and we are left with messy houses, returns, extra pounds, less money, putting away of all the festive decorations. With that heaviness, added to the upcoming colder winter months, and a long wait before the next big holiday, we embark on the new year and often feel the need to make resolutions. While that seems like a great idea for new beginnings, let's examine resolutions for a minute.
A resolution is a promise, a commitment, a firm decision. When we resolve to do something we are verbally and mentally binding ourselves and promising to fulfill whatever commitment we are making. I can look back at resolutions I have made in the past and find that I quickly break them and feel worse about myself. That failure on top of all the "after holiday let-down" can be overwhelming. It then seems that the fresh start for the new year is already messed up. We can then find ourselves in a cycle of frustration that can open us up for the enemy to beat up on us.
Our resolutions often fail because we set unrealistic expectations on ourselves, we don't have or set-up the type of supports we need to help us, we don't have the proper perspective, and/or we try to do it all by ourself. So, let us consider doing things a little differently this year so that we set ourselves up for success.
1. Make time to take inventory of the ending year: Ask God to remind you of the year and encourage yourself in the areas in which you feel you have done well. List things for which you are grateful over the past year. Acknowledge any hurt or hard from the year and then ask God to help you forgive and leave that in the outgoing year. Seek out what places in your life that you would like to take forward steps in for the new year.
2. In those areas in which you want to take steps forward, set a small, attainable goal that you can move toward. Avoid words like I will "never/no longer/won't/always/promise." Set a time frame to check your progress, re-evaluate, and cheer yourself on instead of a deadline to attain.
3. As you move forward in these goals make adjustments and changes. Ask the Lord to guide you. Enlist the encouragement and accountability from friends/loved ones.
Propel yourself forward with the help of the Lord this new year by binding yourself to Him, not resolutions. Look where you've been, where you are, and where you want to go. Be cautious with your heart and guard it by being encouraging, grateful, and hopeful as you walk into 2023. Consider these verses as you think on these things:
Jeremiah 29:11-13- "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart"
Matthew 6:33- "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
Proverbs 16:3- "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans."
Philippians 4:13 - " I can do all this through him who gives me strength."
If you need help working towards these things, or wish to focus on your mental health this year, reach out to us at Impact! We exist to help you become the person the Lord is calling you to become - to kick bad habits, heal from past hurts, repair relationships, and pursue righteousness. May this year be one filled with growth, healing, and joy!
Natalie Bartoo, LPC