Last month I stated that January is the month when New Year’s resolutions appear. February is the month they disappear. It is difficult to keep New year’s resolutions when people try to succeed only by will power. This is not enough to change an engrained habit. Professionals state what is required is “an adherence to a strategy.” In other words, developing a plan and sticking to it is the answer.
The plan must contain the 4 P’s to Progress and Productivity.
The first P 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”!
Ask God for assistance, guidance, and success in achieving your solution.
The second P is Purpose. Clearly understand the purpose- the why - you are launching this new activity. Research continues to show that long term adherence to any lifestyle change program is achieved when the program is viewed as “a means to an end- not the end”. In other words, someone wants to lose 10 pounds not just to drop the weight, but because they want to remain physically active and cognitively alert so they can play with the grandkids. Someone doesn’t try to commit to a daily Bible reading out of duty, but to better understand a loving, creator God and enjoy the benefits of a relationship with God. Write down a “passion or purpose statement” which will become your new reason to stay with the resolution.
The third P is Plan. We have all heard the phrases, “Plan the work; Work the plan.” If you do not know where you are going- how do you know if you have gotten there?” A strategy is needed to adhere to.
What are the essential elements of a successful solution?
Small steps. Don’t try to lose 10 pounds. Lose1 pound 10 times. If you commit to having a conversation with God while you are driving your car. Start with 3 minutes; build to 5 minutes of good focus. Committing to 15 minutes while you are driving to work or the store and having your mind wander isn’t the way to begin.
Use the SMART goal system.
Specific. Be clear. State your plan very clearly including the process you will use.
Measurable. If it can’t be measured- it can’t be managed. Quantify what you are trying to accomplish. Have measures- called metrics- keep track of progress.
Achievable. Think through and be realistic about what results are feasible to achieve.
Relevant. Are these resolutions aligned to your purpose statement?
Timely. Lay out a timeline with milestones for when your results will be achieved. Determine the best time of day to work on your solution.
Focusing on the desired result is a whole lot easier if you:
Have a support system. Get an accountability partner who wants to do the same plan as you. If this is not possible, then find someone who you can turn to for support and also shares successes with.
Find a mentor.
Keep a journal.
Understand there will be setbacks. There are barriers to overcome. Stop negative thoughts that discourage you. Stay focused and positive. Develop a positive, go to phrase you recite such as. “Yes, that was a setback, but I am back on track. I will succeed!”
Be creative. If your goal is to lose weight and you hate exercise, find a way to disassociate. Get up and exercise during your favorite show or the commercials when you are watching television. Rise ten minutes earlier to have that quiet time with God if you can’t find the time during the day now.
The fourth P is Praise.
Praise yourself. Celebrate your successes. Get an empty jar. Every time you reach a successful piece of your plan, place a marble into the jar. When the jar is full, treat yourself to a previously stated reward. Make it visible. Nothing wrong with placing success stickers on the refrigerator. Add an element of fun into it.
Praise God. Thank God that you are able to work on this solution. Tell Him how much you appreciate His guidance. Be thankful Jesus has clearly stated He is the good shepherd. He will clearly help you if you ask. Tell Him you know He loves and supports you.
Good luck. Best of success to reach your solution!