I have never been one to make New Year resolutions. My experience has been that most New Year resolutions are broken before the first week in January is over.
But this year is different.
As 2014 came to an end, I found in my spirit that there were areas in my life I needed, with God’s help, to change. Some were spiritual matters and others were physical.
So on January 1 I wrote down a list of resolutions for 2015. I made four commitments to myself:
Two physical changes:
- To begin a walking program – slowly increasing the time/distance and frequency.
- To eat in a more healthy way – not dieting or eliminating anything from my diet – but not going back for seconds, limiting the amount of soda and sweets – slowly changing my eating habits.
Two spiritual changes:
- To spend more time in the Word of God – not a set time or amount to read – but a consistency of daily time in the Word.
- To spend more time in prayer – not just some “bless me and my family” kind of prayer but intercessory prayer for others as I see and hear of needs both in my community and around the world.
- To make myself more aware of what is going on in the world through websites such as Wycliffe Bible Translators, Compassion International, Voice of the Martyrs, and Martyrs-Persecution so I better know how to pray.
Do I share?
At first I was not going to share with anyone my resolutions – after all it is a personal thing and who really cares anyway what I decide to do or not to do. Isn’t it a little arrogant to think the world cares about my resolutions?
But I have decided I want some way to hold myself accountable. Maybe by sharing with others in a public fashion, I will be encouraged to keep going when I might get discouraged and decide to call it quits.
So far – so good
It is now 15 days into 2015. So far – so good. But have I already formed a new habit? How long will that take? It has been said that if you do something for 21 days, it becomes a habit. However, that statement is not based on any solid evidence.
While I like the “21 days” idea, I’m not sure it’s that easy. Sounds good because I would love to change my life in just three weeks.
But is it true?
Reading on the subject, I found a study published in European Journal of Social Psychology by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London trying to determine just how long it takes to form a habit.
On average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic. The time involved also depends on the behavior, the person and the circumstances.
It will take me more than 21 days to really make these resolutions a real life change.
I don’t have to be perfect!
The study also found that making a mistake now and then does not impact changing my long-term habits. So – I don’t have to pressure myself – I can do it.
And I count on the strength of the Lord!
My life verse will keep me going/
For I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.