Question: I make resolutions that I feel will help me to be a better person, but no matter how well I start off, I can’t seem to keep up the momentum. What can I do to stick with my resolutions and get the results I want?
Life is hard sometimes.
When you’ve worked as hard as you possibly could and yet you failed to make the grade, your dreams remain out of reach, and you feel you just can’t do it anymore, you can feel like giving up.
All of us have probably felt that way at some time or another. Maybe you’ve been in that situation recently. In fact, maybe you feel that way right now.
We may not all have the same definition of success, but who doesn’t want to be successful? And rightly so. The desire for comfort and security and the yearning for meaning and fulfillment in life are inborn and universal. Why then do so many people seem to settle for less? Why don’t they pursue their goals more actively? There are several reasons, but I think this excerpt from an article I came across exposes one of the most common:
I recently climbed Table Mountain, here in South Africa, and what a wonder it is! A flat-topped mountain smack-dab in the middle of a city, overlooking two oceans, and with a mountain range dubbed “The 12 Apostles” right behind it. It’s over 3,500 feet (1,066 m) high and teeming with gorgeous vegetation, birds, wild animals, rocks and cliffs, but my favorite thing about it is the breathtaking view!
I’m someone who tends to go by inspiration, and I’ve long been bothered by my scattered approach to setting goals, so I was searching for an effective way to make it through my to-do list. It seems so easy to pick out the things I prefer doing or feel inspired to tackle first, but unfortunately, this strategy often leads to procrastination, especially since those “favorites” often aren’t the most important or priority tasks. Since the important stuff doesn’t just disappear, I find myself cramming in order to fit everything in.
When I started mapping out my goals five years ago, achieving them seemed daunting. But I claimed the promise, “Faithful is he [God] that calleth you, who also will do it,”1 and with His help, I went forward. My plan was to write and create thousands of pages of good-quality faith-building books for children.
In my turn-of-the year cleanup, I found an old yearbook. I smiled as I read down the very long list of my resolutions for that year. I guess I had high expectations of myself!
This past year, I decided to make only three resolutions: Be more loving and encouraging, finish a major writing project I was working on and start a new one, and keep a prayer list.
I have a six-year-old nephew who loves video games. The other day I was sitting with him while he was playing a racing game on his Wii. The levels were getting progressively more difficult, the speed was faster, and the courses were more hazardous. I could see him becoming more and more stressed—his face was turning red, his hands were getting sweaty, and he couldn’t stay in his seat.
It’s a clichéd résumé line, but I’m a goal-oriented person. For as long as I can remember, I’ve set goals, and in particular New Year’s goals, and then worked to achieve them. A lot of New Year’s resolutions fail because they’re just things people say while caught up in a moment of passion (or guilt), only to soon forget or ignore. That isn’t the case for me.
It’s one thing to dream of reaching a goal or accomplishing something. This is an important first step. For some, it may be the pursuit of a new endeavor. For others, it could be acquiring a new skill. For yet others, it might be making changes in habit or lifestyle. Whatever the case, effort, perseverance, and often sacrifice are required in order for our dreams to become reality. Once we realize this, it’s up to us as individuals to decide how determined we are to reach our goal, whatever it may be, and how much we’re willing to give of ourselves in order to see our dreams fulfilled. This is where the importance of motivation comes in.