Devotionals

2 Essentials for Keeping Resolutions

Cru President Steve Douglass gives advice for the new year.

Steve Douglass
Making Goals photo

You know the drill. The beginning of a new year inspires change, a fresh start and a new goal. So you set a resolution or two.

Fast-forward two weeks.

You’re on the couch, eating a fistful of chocolate, wondering why you threw your money away on a yearlong gym membership you might use once a month.

What happened? Why are resolutions so difficult to keep? And how can this year be different?

A Lesson From the Pitch

In my 15 years of coaching soccer, I’ve seen that it isn’t raw talent that determines a player’s success. Many of the talented players I’ve coached achieved great things, but others quit.

The difference had everything to do with two things: motivation and teachability. The more motivated and teachable a player was, the greater the degree of improvement and success that player had.

The same is true of resolutions.

Motivation: Did They Want to Play and Improve?

Some players were there only because their parents wanted them to be there. They weren’t personally invested. Or their interest was halfhearted; when practice became difficult or sacrifice was required, it was easy to give up.

How much do you actually want to change or improve? The success of your New Year’s resolutions will largely be determined by an honest answer to that question.

Sometimes, you need to give yourself a “heart check”, because motivation starts there. When your heart is in something, you’ll give whatever effort is necessary to accomplish it.

Teachability – Did They Listen to Input and “Own” the Improvement Process?

There is a great outline for growth in 2 Timothy 3:16 (New International Version): “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”

  • Teaching – Showing what is right.
  • Rebuking – Identifying what is wrong.
  • Correcting – Showing how to get it right.
  • Training in Righteousness – Making it a habit.

I used this process over and over with my players:

  • “This is what a good ‘push pass’ looks like.”
  • “Unfortunately, this is what you’re doing wrong.”
  • “Here’s how you can overcome your mistake.”
  • “Practice this for 15 minutes to see if it becomes easier and more natural.”

Players who fully engaged in this learning process got better. Others didn’t because of a teachability issue: They disagreed with my method, they thought they’d improved enough before the skill became habitual, they didn’t want to be corrected, and so on.

If you want to achieve the resolutions you are hoping to, you need to fully engage the learning process. You must think through:

  • What is really right in this case?
  • What am I doing wrong?
  • How can I correct that?
  • How can I make the new behavior a habit so it becomes routine and natural?

We must own the process. We need to be motivated, open to input, reliant upon the Lord and persistent in working hard to make the changes we want.

And don’t forget that, according to 2 Timothy 3:16, God’s Word is your “coach” in this endeavor. This helpful article can show you how to study the Bible to maximize this coaching process.

Next Steps

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