The joyous Christmas season has past. The sobering New Year’s Resolution period is upon us. Many Americans make New Year’s Resolutions. Very few end up keeping them. In fact, past history shows most resolutions are abandoned by the end of January. Why are there such dismal results year after year? This two-part blog will explore the reasons and then introduce a productive plan.
What is needed for a resolution- which is a desired, major change of behavior- to be successful? We have to first understand what determines behavior. This can be explained in the A, B, C’s of behavior.
A- Activating Event
B- Belief and value system about the event
C- Consequential behavior and feelings
The big question is what causes C- how we behave and feel? Is it A or B? All professionals in the mental health field are unanimous in their answer that B- our value system determines our behavior. It is not A- an activating event. A clarifying example is that someone loses their job. Their response could be:
God hates me
God loves me and this is part of life’s journey
God does not exist- has nothing to do with my job loss
This shows that B- our internal value and belief system about an event- controls our behavior. Willpower is not enough. If someone keeps a resolution for a few days and then stops- this is short lived inspiration. Therefore, a real change in values is required to keep a resolution. Values are the non-negotiable behaviors that govern behavior.
Unfortunately, some value systems are so engrained that changing a lifestyle is difficult. For example, many resolutions center around losing weight.
During the 1700’s in America, a settler needed 4000 calories per day to survive. Chasing after deer and chopping firewood required a lot of energy. Due to advancements in automation, around 1900 roughly 2000 calories were needed per day for a hard-working farmer. Today, with our totally automated society, the average, sedentary woman/ man needs only 1300 – 1600 calories per day. Any more and extra weight starts to appear. In the 1700’s, a person had to do physical labor to survive. Today, for most people no physical labor is required to live. Most people find doing physical activity- a workout- discipline and drudgery.
Combine these two- leading a sedentary lifestyle and an aversion to a boring exercise routine- can lead to weight gain. A real change in a personal value system would be required to succeed in a resolution to become healthier.
The same applies if a New Year’s Resolution is to have a closer walk with God.
A person must examine what is limiting the relationship now and what values must be changed to develop a closer walk. Does a person value watching television more than setting aside a quiet time with God?
UGH! Does changing an engrained value system sound way too difficult?
It is – without the right approach to help with the change.
In the next blog, I will introduce the 4 P’s to Progress and Productivity.
Let’s start with the first P now. It is Prayer.
For God, no request is too small or undoable. Daniel 2:20-21 says, “Praise the name of God forever and ever for He has all the wisdom and power,”
Jesus made it clear in Mathew 7:7, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to YOU”
The first step is to use this month to pray for help. The second step? Read the blog next month!