Another year is behind us, and a brand-new year, brimming with possibilities, lies ahead. How can we make the most of it? According to U.S. fitness pioneer Jack LaLanne, it’s simply a matter of setting realistic goals and sticking with them. In reference to a perennial favorite New Year’s resolution, getting in better physical shape, LaLanne said in a 2000 AP interview, “The average person means well, [but] they set their goals too high. They do it two or three times and say, ‘This is too tough.’ And they quit. Staying in shape is a lifestyle. It is not something you do for two weeks or four months to lose 20 pounds. It is something you do for the rest of your life, just like combing your hair.” And LaLanne should know. He is still fit, works out daily, keeps a busy schedule of public appearances, and looks two or three decades younger than his 93 years.
The “realistic” and “lifestyle” principles apply to almost any New Year’s resolution, of course. Ask yourself, “Is this goal realistic?” and, “Is it important enough for me to adapt my lifestyle accordingly?” If the answer to both questions is yes, determine precisely how you will work the change into your daily or weekly routine, and then do another reality check. What other interest or activity will need to go in order to make room for the new? Are you willing to make that sacrifice? If the answer is again yes, all that remains is for you to stick with it long enough to make it a habit. If it was a wise choice, chances are it won’t be long until its benefits outweigh any initial sacrifice.
And of course the best way to ensure success is to include God in the process, step by step. Ask Him to show you what changes will be most beneficial, and ask Him daily to give you the strength, patience, determination, or whatever else you need to succeed that day, and He will.