Health clubs and spas love January! Business skyrockets as December bulges turn to January workouts.
A "new year" sounds like a great time to work on a new you. Thus, the infamous New Year's resolution. "A firm decision to do or not to do something."
Sadly, research shows that about 88% of our resolutions won't happen.
It's not that we aren't sincere about wanting to improve. We really do want to be healthier. Spend more time with the family. Get out of debt. Do better in school. Clean out the junk. In our house. Or in us.
So why do our great intentions so often end in failed commitments?
My work has put me in the middle of many folks' efforts to change. From their experience - and too much of my own - I've seen four reasons we fail.
1. We're not specific.
Goals have to be more than general intentions. "I'm going to be a better husband" ... "I'm going to get in shape" ... "I want to make more of a difference" - nice ideas. Not likely to succeed. "I'm going to give my wife all of my attention at least once a day" ... "I'm not going to eat after 6 o'clock and I'll spend 20 minutes on the treadmill each day" ... "I'm going to volunteer at the shelter" - those are specific - and measurable - enough to give a person a decent shot at real change.
2. We're not accountable.
A resolution between me, myself and I is just too easy to forget. But when you announce to several key people the commitment you've made, you've put yourself on the line to do it. Like the Bible says, "Two are better than one ... if one falls down, his friend can help him up."
3. We give up too soon.
Babies learn to walk by a process I call "step ... boom!" They fall down, but they don't stay down. They get up! Next time - "step, step, step ... boom!" Until one day they're rocketing across the room. Sadly, when we fall down in our effort to do better, we too often stay down. But one day's failure is just that. One day. Keep it that way. Get up and keep walking!
4. We have a power shortage.
Especially when it comes to the changes that really matter. Breaking the cycle that's hurting the people I love. Conquering the dark part of me that has brought me down again and again. Moving beyond the pain of my past. Attacking that fatal flaw that has cost me so much.
Every new year has the same last name. "A.D." 2015. A.D. "Anno Domini." The year of our Lord. Measured by how many years it is since Jesus Christ came.
My whole life has been "B.C./A.D." The me I couldn't change before Christ took the wheel of my life. And the changed life He's made possible since I gave me to Him.
I thought I could only trust me to drive. But I drove into too many ditches. Ran over too many people. Crashed too often. I couldn't get me to the man I want to be. I need to be. That the people I love need me to be.
Like one of the men who wrote the Bible. He said, "I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't ... Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?"
I know that feeling. And I've found the power to change where that Bible-writer found it. "Thank God!" he said - "The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord." It took the Man who died for my sin to give me the power to beat my sin.
My personal B.C. - a man I didn't want to be. My personal A.D. - the man I could never have been without the great Life-Changer.
Not just a new year. A new me.