It’s January 4. We’re now four days into the new year. Be honest… have you kept your resolutions for 2017? Are you still doing what you said you’d be doing? Did you even start? Is your year going the direction you thought it would by now?
Studies show that by the end of January, 40% of all New Year’s resolutions will have been tossed aside. And that number jumps to 75% just one week into February!
It’s amazing how easy it is to come up with things about our lives that we want to change and yet how hard it is to actually change them!
Why is that? Why can’t we keep our resolutions? Why can’t we make those changes that we know we need to make?
Did you know that...
- ...95% of those who lose weight on a diet regain it, and a significant percentage gain back more than they originally?
- ...even after a heart attack, 6 out of every 7 patients DO NOT make any enduring changes around eating or exercise?
- ...the average person makes the same New Year’s resolution 10 separate times without success?
Regardless of what your goal may be [losing weight, spending more time with the kids, reading the Bible daily, getting your career on track], we all struggle to change. We don’t struggle to come up with things that need to change… or developing a plan for that change… or realizing how great life will be when we make that change… WE STRUGGLE TO ACTUALLY CHANGE!
St. Paul said it like this, “For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” (Romans 7:15)
I’m not claiming to be an expert in the art of change [if I was then I’m sure you’d see a comment or two from my wife on this post], but if there’s one shift I believe we can make to help turn those good intentions into actual change: NO MORE EXCUSES.
Understand this: you have an Enemy out there and he is real. The Bible calls him Satan and his mission is to destroy your life. He is an enemy of all that is good – including the change that you know you need to make. The last thing he will ever do is sit back and watch you change your life for the better. And I'm not just talking about spiritual changes. He is opposed to any change that will make you a better person and bring your life more in line with God’s plan.
He doesn't want you to change. He doesn't want you to pray more. He doesn’t want you to get in shape and feel good about yourself. He doesn’t want you to fix your marriage. He doesn’t want you to stop nagging your husband or ignoring your wife.
He does not want you to change!
And the moment you decide that you want to change, he is there in an instant to give you 1001 excuses why you shouldn’t.
- “You’ve tried before and failed. Why try again?”
- “You don’t have what it takes to be consistent; it won’t last.”
- “People will laugh at you when you fail again.”
- “You’re busy now; you can work on this later.”
- “Why should you put in that effort? No one else is.”
I’ve been there and heard all of those excuses. He’s awfully convincing isn’t he?
Well, if you want to make your 2017 resolutions different than the past 10 years’ worth of resolutions, it’s time to say NO MORE EXCUSES!
Yeah, you might fall short of your goal, but at least you’ll try. I’d rather try and fail as opposed to never trying at all [that’s what we teach our kids right?]. When you make excuses to avoid doing what you know God wants you to do, you aren’t setting limits on yourself; you’re setting limits on God! You’re saying “I don’t think God can do ______ in my life.”
So let this be your modified resolution for the rest of 2017: NO MORE EXCUSES. I will do my best. I will put in my best effort. I will fight/pray/work as hard as I can to make my change a reality in 2017. And if I fail, at least it won’t be from lack of effort. I will do my best; and trust God to do the rest.
Next week, I’ll be sharing some of my personal goals for the new year (and I’d be more than happy to help you with your goals on my weekly scope). But before we get there, we need to have the same mindset. First we prepare our minds/hearts, then we start putting pen to paper - as Jesus taught us “first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.” (Matthew 23:26).
2017: NO MORE EXCUSES.