Today is quitter’s day. Saturday, January 12, is the designated day when people are most likely to give up on their New Year's resolutions.
A Fox News article stated that according to a study conducted by the University of Scranton said, “…around 80 percent fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions. Roughly 55 percent of New Year’s resolutions were health-related, such as exercising more, eating healthier and getting out of financial debt.”
What is it about the beginning of each year that encourages us to look deep inside of our lives and evaluate it all? Many of us believe it is time for something new and something fresh.
I, like many of you, love fresh and new things. There is something about opening that bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos and taking that first chip, cracking open a cold Diet Coke and drinking that first sip, sliding your feet into that brand-new pair of socks, and purchasing a new mascara and brushing on that first application. Fresh, new, crisp, refreshing, exciting, all are words that help describe the newness we seem to enjoy.
Why is it at the beginning of each New Year we gain hope? We believe that something new will happen because it is a brand-new year, an opportunity to start fresh. Many people get out a pen and pad of paper or open a Word document on their laptop or begin a new note on their IPhone. They begin to dream about what the next year could look like. They suddenly have hope for what could be. I think we can all relate or have experienced this at some point in our lives, often as each New Year approaches.
I was the same way. For many years, I dreamed of losing weight, eating healthy, exercising more, saving more money, reading my Bible more, being kinder, nicer and forgiving. I wrote resolutions with great intentions to accomplish everything that was on that paper. Honestly, that was my plan. Unfortunately, as many of you have experienced, that paper would get lost somewhere in the busyness of life and about the second week of January I would drift far from those resolutions. My intentions were good but my life wasn’t ready for all of those changes at one time. I would get discouraged and hope became lost until the next December as I again would approach another New Year.
I went through a deep soul searching time a while back, and I realized my life didn’t have much direction. I was running a race but with no finish line. Not only personally, but as I considered my marriage it was clear to see that we were on a journey with no destination and worse yet not even a plan to define what we wanted. We were running fast and hard, but all that energy was being wasted as we stood in the same place. This is when we decided we needed direction. But how do you get direction when you don’t have purpose? What was our purpose? What was the purpose of our marriage? We talked a lot, prayed hard, looked into God’s word, and He help lead us to write a mission statement for our marriage which defined our purpose. Here is what we wrote that day:
We find our purpose in loving Jesus and in building relational bridges so others can know his love. Our life is not about money it is about mission. Our life is not about property, it is about purpose. – Travis & Dawn
This was our purpose. This is what we believed and what we wanted our marriage to look like and to communicate to others. Now that we had a purpose, knowing what to do was next. How do you fulfill your purpose? We knew we now needed to write goals that would help us accomplish our purpose.
Resolutions can look like goals, but goals are something we are doing every day to accomplish our purpose. There is a big difference between resolutions and goals. A goal is the end toward which effort is directed. A resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something. We need goals because we have an end result that we are trying to achieve. Our end result is our purpose. I can resolve to do or not do something, but that is not the end result.
With our purpose already known, I want to share with you some of our 2018 goals that we set and where our effort was directed. These are little goals, that we chose every day to work towards, so that we could get to our end result.
Eat healthier. More protein, fruit and vegetables
Cardio work out- Six times a week.
Reach and keep our ideal body weight.
Lift weights - Three times a week for muscle development and for bone density.
Train to run a half-marathon together
Read one book a month
Watch or listen to two marriage podcasts a month
Listen to two leadership podcasts a month
Work diligently and effectively and with integrity in our daily jobs
Continue to write and develop teaching material
Write 3 messages by April 1st for a Women's Conference
Loving the Fight Marriage Seminars– 6 x year
Write marriage blogs
See our kids at least every six weeks
Connect with at least one other couple once a week
Twice a month have people over to our home
Grow one friendship with someone who needs Jesus
One date a week
Develop and cultivate life giving friendships
Follow our budget
Tithe and live generously
Avoid debt and spur of the moment spending
Pray together daily
Fast one meal a week
Extended times of prayer and fasting
Daily Bible reading
Set a spiritual example for our family/extended family
Read our Bible together several times a week
Listen to podcasts 3x week
Take three weeks of R&R Vacation a year
Honor one Sabbath day a week
Attend one conference a year
Travel somewhere new once a year
Again, these are just some of our basic 2018 collective goals that we had created. We wrote them down, prayed over them, and a few times a month we would open our laptop and make sure that we were on target to what we had set out to accomplish. It is fun to look at those goals now in 2019 and know that we didn’t experience a quitter’s day, but that these goals were accomplished.
I am not saying we are special. I am not looking for recognition. I don’t believe we have it all together. All I know is that God gave us a purpose, we wrote out these goals based on our purpose, and we strived to make them a part of our year. It worked.
I love what Mark Batterson, the author of the Circle Maker said, “The sad truth is that most people spend more time planning their summer vacation than they do planning the rest of their life.”
God has a plan and a purpose for you and your marriage. My prayer for you is that you will take the time to stop, pray and discover what that purpose is and set goals to make sure that great purpose is accomplished.
Let me end with another great quote and food for thought by Mark Batterson, “I used to have a lot of personal goals, but I have replaced most of them with shared goals. Nothing cements a relationship like a shared goal. Goals are relational glue. I’ve discovered that when you go after a goal with another person, it doubles your joy.”
May God bless you as you pursue him and your purpose in 2019.