By Dr. Henry Cloud | Published December 29, 2012 | FoxNews.com
There are three areas in life where we make resolutions: clinical (how you feel), relationships (marriage, dating, family friends, work) and performance (dreams, goals, talents, accomplishments).
Many of us will make New Year’s resolutions in the next few days in one or more of these areas, but there’s a problem with those resolutions. Most of them will be based on will power, commitment, or trying to make better choices.
While commitment is important, it always fails without another ingredient: we have to develop the capacity to reach those goals. Research shows that people who succeed do so by opening themselves up to capacity building from the outside.
How do you get that capacity to succeed and make sure 2013 is not what I call a “groundhog year”?
When you put your New Year’s resolutions into your schedule, you have to figure out where the power drains and old patterns of failure come from and begin to say no.
You’re going to need two things: 1) a new energy source and 2) a structure or template to guide that energy. For example, if you want to stay on a diet, you need the energy of a support group and the structured guide of a program plan of diet and exercise. That kind of structure in any endeavor along with energy will close the gap. It can be a coach, a buddy system, an accountability partner, joining a program or reading new books—there are a million different ways to structure a growth pattern, you just have to get in one. Having said that, I’m going to give you a few more tips:
First of all, the biggest mistake people make is trying to accomplish the goal based on commitment and trying harder. That will fail.
Instead, get together with people who are already accomplishing what you want to accomplish. If you want to become healthy, you have to surround yourself with a group of people that are getting healthy and you have to be connected to a community that is doing what you want to do. That is why programs such as Weight Watchers, or other support communities are so powerful.
If you want to become more spiritual, you’ve got to get connected with a group of people that are growing in that area, instead of just thinking you will do it and sustain it on your own.
We know from research that growth is actually contagious so if you want to reach your goals, you’ve got to get around people that are going in the same direction you want to be going and you will catch the success. The data proves it.
Also, expect to fail. That’s right—both you and I—nobody gets it perfectly all the time. Here is what’s actually going to happen: you’re going to blow it!
If your resolution is to lose weight, there will be a time when you’re going to eat five days worth of Weight Watchers points in one day. Don’t interpret that as a horrible thing, that’s a normal part of the process.
The problem is that people blow it and then they feel bad about it. Then they go off and binge eat in order to get over feeling bad about it and then they drop their whole plan altogether.
Instead, when you blow it, accept your setbacks as normal.
Don’t use all or nothing thinking. Take each day as its own day and don’t worry about it if you mess up one day. The most important thing you can do is just get back up on the horse.
Remember: perfection goals fail, while “get better goals” succeed. Just do better tomorrow than you did today.
Next, ask yourself, “why hasn’t this worked before? How did I fail last year?” We don’t usually need new ways of failing; the old ways tend to work just fine.
Are there people that normally get you off track? Do you have trouble saying no? Do you fail one day, get discouraged and quit? Do you fail to protect the time you need in order to get things done?
I remember when I wrote my first book, “Changes that Heal,” I never could find a way to actually get it done. Then I thought to myself, “why have I not been able to do this before?” I had not been able to do it because I had never blocked off the time that I really needed to finish the project. So, I made a commitment and a priority that for the next six months from Friday when I got off of work at 5 o’clock until Monday when I went back to work that I would lock myself up and I would not do anything but work on my book. I had just one exception to the rule and that was that I’d let myself go out to dinner for two hours on Saturday evening. I said no to everything that would interfere with my plan and I had accountability with others.
You’ve got to set some boundaries to protect what you’re trying to build. When you put your New Year’s resolutions into your schedule, you have to figure out where the power drains and old patterns of failure come from and begin to say no. It’s important to create some very protective boundaries.
Another important item is to have sub-goals. You’re not going to lose 100 pounds immediately but what is your plan for tomorrow? Go on a 45-minute walk and work up a brisk sweat? Here’s an example of sub-goals: when I was writing my book, if the whole book was 100,000 words my goal for tomorrow might be to write 2,000 words.
If your resolution is to get out of debt, you can skip eating lunch out each day and start sending that money in to pay off credit card debt. Then, voila…in six months that credit card might be paid off. As you’ll begin to see, your daily goals help you fulfill your larger goal. Sub-goals are very, very important.
Lastly, also remember that the goals you choose are important, too. Some goals are not going to fulfill you. Choose goals that you value and care about.
Do all these things and I bet 2013 will be better than 2012.
Pastor Stephen Arterburn
Heartland Church: 12.16.12
Let Go Of Your Excuses
Pastor Stephen Arterburn
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.
― William Arthur Ward
The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving. – H. U. Westermayer
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. – Psalm 95:1-5
God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say, ‘Thank you?’ – William Ward
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. – Psalm 100:1-5
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. – John F. Kennedy
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed. If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude. – Robert Brault
Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done. – 1 Chronicles 16:8
You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink. – G.K. Chesterton
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. – 1 Chronicles 16:34
The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings! – Henry Ward Beecher
I will give thanks to the LORD because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High. – Psalm 7:17
Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all. – William Faulkner
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say: ‘Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.’ – Isaiah 12:3-5
If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily. – Gerald Good
From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained. – Jeremiah 30:19
Who does not thank for little will not thank for much. – Estonian Proverb
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? – 1 Corinthians 10:16
The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings. – Eric Hoffer
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. – 2 Corinthians 9:10-12
When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep? – George Canning
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. – Ephesians 1:15-16
Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart. – Henry Clay
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. – Ephesians 5:3-4
The grateful person, being still the most severe exacter of himself, not only confesses, but proclaims, his debts. – Robert South
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. – William Arthur Ward
I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers. – Philemon 1:4
One moment, in last week’s sentencing of Penn State pedophile Jerry Sandusky, stood out as both painful and redemptive, not only for the victims of the disgraced assistant coach, but for the universe of sex abuse victims.
Addressing the unidentified victims, Judge John Cleland spoke words of wisdom I urge these young men, now struggling to begin a healthy life, not to overlook. “The fact that you were assaulted is no cause for shame,” he said. “It is for your courage that you will be remembered.”
Hour Of Power
Air date: October 7, 2012
Pastor: Steven Arterburn (starts at 37:00)
Music Guest: Tom Tipton, Dianne Frazer & Jill Felber
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
The things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
Which should be changed,
And the Wisdom to distinguish
The one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Max is the only author to have won three Christian Book of the Year* awards—in 1999 for Just Like Jesus, in 1997 for In the Grip of Grace, and in 1995 for When God Whispers Your Name. In 2005, Reader’s Digest magazine dubbed him “America’s Best Preacher” and in 2004, Christianity Today magazine called him “America’s Pastor.” More about Max