We’re five days into 2022.

That’s five solid days of your new year resolutions, lived out and achieved! Good on you for that, really.

See, around this time, or maybe a few weeks after, is roughly when my own resolutions begin to go through dissolution and eventually fall apart.

So, you might say I’m something of an expert at planning and prematurely aborting positive life change.

This is exactly why the things I’m about to share have profound importance and relevance to those resolutions you’re currently grinding away at.

So without further ado, let’s jump right into the first pitfall.

By that, we mean the unrealistic. Why?

Because SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals are made by people who want to tether you to the ground so you can’t fly as high as you should.

But you are an eagle. So what you should really be doing is aiming for the sky.

Weighing in at 100kg? Forget that noise about dropping 10kg over the year, at a conservative rate of 1kg a month. 

Why not plan to lose 40kg? Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land on the sun. 🔥

Having a plan is good. Having a structure and the discipline of routine are swell as well.

But don’t forget the most important thing — which is to approach the year — fitness plans and all — with a sense of flexibility.

Fun fact: “Play it by ear” is actually a corruption of “playing it by year”. The looser your hold is over the resolution, the better. 

C’est la vie. That 40kg will dissolve. What’s more important is to remember to keep your resolve up by thinking and talking about it — the real action can follow later.

After all, you’ve already put together a great plan. Putting in the effort will come… eventually.

ALREADY managed to get five days under your belt? You are a champion who needs to be more ambitious.

Forget the injury risks normal people take on when they approach exercises their bodies have not grown accustomed to. You have the power of positivity on your side.

Forget burning out from your reading plan early from squeezing a few more books or novels in. That’s a problem for people who don’t have the optimism you possess.

Do more. Disregard the lowkey suspicions of trusted family members and your subconscious mind telling you that your actions have become unsustainable.

Do even more. Do faster. You’ll burn like a shooting star.

One prevailing misconception is that when you plug yourself into a group of like-minded individuals committed and united in the pursuit of a singular goal, you will have a higher chance of seeing through your resolutions.

No. Seeing people do better than you will make you feel like you are being left behind.

Instead, find your place among people who aren’t even trying. That’s how you become a tree among shrubs.

Bonus points if they actively discourage you and don’t believe in you. Perhaps that negative energy can be converted into even more resolve for yourself? 

A key part of trusting the process means relaxing and having the confidence that you are getting to where you want to be.

It’s all about foolishly fixing your mind on an impossible destination or outcome, even when your plan doesn’t look like it’s working out.

You will get there, so just live each day as if it were January 1.

Practically speaking, that means there’s no need to track your progress, to monitor your life for discernible growth in these areas you planned out.

Why create opportunities for yourself to experience repeated and premature failures? Why knock your own confidence? You navigate past setbacks if you simply don’t acknowledge them.

And remember: Don’t tweak the plan even if you feel that things aren’t going quite as smoothly as you had envisioned. 

After all, if you were driving on a road and your car started to creak and hiss, you wouldn’t stop, would you?

No. Close your eyes and don’t touch anything.

Trust the process and it may just carry you to your final destination.

JOKES ASIDE

Failing my resolutions was a process that occurred with such inevitable precision that I eventually wound up not making any resolutions altogether some years ago.

It was a decision made in defeat that would wind up marking a decline in my physical health and spiritual disciplines.

2021 was very different from what I’m used to though!

I’ve previously written about how I startedand actually kept to — a Bible plan (it’s called the Bible in One Year with Nicky Gumbel if you’re curious).

You know how experts suggest that sticking to just one thing really helps the average person see his or her resolutions through?

Well, sticking to God’s word as that ONE THING for 2021 really turned out to be a solid anchor through my year.

A simple truth from the Bible or a word from God was something I often held onto when I struggled with pain or faced discouragement in ministry.

It’s why I’m suggesting that if you took nothing but chuckles from this article so far, take one more thing: Make a resolution to take in God’s word carefully and consistently.

I genuinely believe it is a resolution most worth pursuing. It is the only one that still gives grace when you fail.

Most important of all, at the end of it, you will get to better know a Creator God who will never let you down!

THINK + TALK 
  1. Made any resolutions this year yet? How can you avoid any of these pitfalls?
  2. If there was ONE THING you had to choose from your list, what would that be? 
  3. How’s your intake of God’s word? What are you doing to grow in spiritual maturity?