As 2016 ended, our family spent the final weeks of the year remembering the lessons that we’ve learned during the past 12 months while looking forward to making 2017 more fruitful and meaningful. I was excited that the kids were a part of this planning season and, except for my five-year-old, we all came up with hand-written goals for 2017. My three children even prepared their own daily schedules for the year.
While writing down new year’s resolutions have always been among my most important year-end agendas in the past, I have to admit that I’ve been unsuccessful in hitting most of my goals. I am quite the typical ningas-kugon—I initially get excited but my interest wanes through time (and failures).
This year, though, I am determined to change all that and discipline myself to stay on track. I realize that in order to accomplish this, I would need a change in strategy. If I keep on doing the same things, I will keep getting the same results. So, instead of just writing down my goals for 2017, I also sat down to devise a plan to (hopefully) accomplish them. And I would like to share with you how I will try to focus on achieving this year’s goals.
Every Saturday, I will devote time to reading my goals.
This is something that I learned from the man who probably wrote the most famous resolutions—Jonathan Edwards. I believe that among the reasons why I have been unsuccessful in the past is that I forgot that I have set some goals.
Most of the resolutions that we want to attain often require a change in our behavior and habits. And in order for new habits to be formed, we need to replace behaviors which might be deeply ingrained in us. This shift in direction doesn’t happen overnight and necessitates frequent reminders to steer us away from our previous course and reinforce our commitment to change.
I am hoping that reading my goals on a weekly basis will serve this purpose. I choose to read my goals during my morning devotions every Saturday as this will give me the most time to reflect. Because there are no classes, my kids often wake up late during Saturdays providing me with longer hours alone and uninterrupted. Personally, I also find it more conducive to read and review my goals when I am not anticipating a long day of work. Furthermore, it will provide me with ample time to pray about my goals.
Memorize verses which correspond to the areas of my life that need change or improvement.
I believe that the word of God is ever-powerful for our sanctification. 2 Timothy 3:16 states that
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (emphasis mine)
And so as I strive, by God’s grace, for greater sanctification, I would like to establish and attain goals which the Bible clearly prescribes for us as believers.
For one, I want frequently remind myself that all of life is a matter of the heart. To give you an illustration, one of my goals in 2017 is to lose weight. (Ok, I have to admit that this goal has been on my list for the last three years already!) Previously, I’ve tried to lose weight by exercising and watching what I eat noting that all those extra fat are coming from the excess calories I’ve consumed that I am not able to burn off.
Lately, I’ve recognized that my being overweight is the combined result of two of my favorite sins—gluttony and laziness. It is enlightening to see that most of the things I want to change is not simply a matter of behavior or habit but stems from a deeper heart issue.
Secondly, I have noted that I am able to stick and accomplish a goal when I see its connection to my relationship with God. Knowing that gluttony and laziness are displeasing to God makes me all the more fired up in the battle. It is a reminder that all of my decisions and actions has spiritual implications. I am not just aiming to attain a better, improved version of myself but that in all things I seek to glorify God. These sins are not just causing me to gain weight but are inflicting pain to my Savior! Thus, I should be more determined in killing sin through the “sword of the Spirit which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
With the psalmist, I am resolved to keep God’s word in my heart so I will not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). I will be memorizing verses about pride, submission expected of a godly wife, humility, and the power of the tongue.
When I fail, I will seek for grace.
If you’re like me, failure is what kills the motivation to push through. And when our resolve is weakened by our failures, we feel defeated, and we give up. This happened to me a lot of times already to know that when I fall, it is so hard to shake that feeling of weakness and incapability.
But these same feelings humble me and make me ran to God for strength. I will never forget the preacher who stated that the path to Christian victory starts with an acknowledgment that victory is impossible. Unless we learn and accept that we are never capable winning spiritual battles, we will never rely on the strength and grace that God provides. Our weakness should then drive us to our knees, looking to God’s sustenance instead of trusting in our own abilities.
The truth is when I look at my skills, my spirituality, and my strength, I have accepted the fact that most of the goals are unattainable. Left to my own strength, I know that the road to achieving these goals will be riddled with failures. But I also believe that God is able to supply all my needs (Philippians 4:19)–even the need to be stay focused, motivated, and determined despite all the challenges and failures. I am also convinced that God will be faithful in providing all the grace that I need to be that godly woman who wants me to be.
This 2017, I will count on God who is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20, emphasis mine).
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