As we settle into a New Year, like many of us, you probably have pondered the idea of setting some goals with all the best intentions of following through “this time”.
Reflect on January a year ago. Maybe the plan was to simplify life or to be more consistent with your Bible reading, prayer, training the children, and exercising… the list can go on and on. Now a year later, has anything changed? Hopefully yes, yet unfortunately probably more a “ no.” And it’s the “no’s” that are discouraging. If it brings any comfort, we too have been there. Even to the point of rationalizing why the changes are not occurring, and even giving up. But maybe you’ve taken the opposite approach and promised yourself to try harder this year, yet are already experiencing the same results. Is there an answer to this dilemma, or are we doomed to repeat the same cycle year after year?
The very goals that are designed to motivate us end up derailing our thinking. This is where we need to “speak life” to ourselves. By focusing on what has not been done right or what could have been done better, we lose perspective of what has been accomplished and any changes that have occurred. Honest evaluation isn’t wrong, but recounting only the negatives doesn’t tell the whole story.
For example, how many of us have losing weight as one of our goals? If we lose even half of the intended amount, we have made progress in the right direction! How much better to focus on that aspect, instead of the weight still waiting to be lost! Losing some is better than gaining more!
Take a look at your list one more time, whether it’s one that is only in your mind or actually written down. Let’s consider the fact that the ‘list’ may need to become more realistic. Instead of trying to follow the advice the book gave or do what your neighbor does, what can you do?
Begin by evaluating the season of life you are in right now. If you are a mom with several littles under the age of seven, maybe getting the children and yourself dressed and fed, the laundry and dishes done, some basic housework, and a little scheduled one on one time with each child is enough for you right now. This may not be the season to join the gym and take on more activities. Of course, our moms with older children now find they have busier schedules to manage. Are you keeping family nights a priority? What about couch time? Those are achievable goals and this is part of the key. Once discovering and accepting the season of life you are in then do only those things that are productive for this current season. Certainly a farmer wouldn’t try to harvest his crops soon after he planted the seeds. Not only are there things that need to be done before harvesting, but time must pass.
So as we are moving into a New Year, rather than giving up, thinking “I can’t do it,” how about giving yourself some grace, knowing that for everything there is a season.