Devotionals

2 Essentials for Keeping Resolutions

Cru President Steve Douglass gives advice for the new year.

Steve Douglass

You know the drill. The beginning of a new year inspires change, a fresh start, 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 year-long 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 coaching soccer, I’ve seen that it isn’t raw talent that determines a player’s success. Many of the hundreds I’ve coached achieved great things, while others quit.

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

The same is true of our resolutions.

Motivation:  Did they want to play and improve?

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

How much do we actually want to change or improve? Our New Year’s resolution success will largely be determined by an honest answer to that question.

Sometimes we need to give ourselves a “heart check”, as motivation starts here. When our heart is in something, we’ll give whatever effort is necessary.

Teachability – Did they listen to input and “own” the improvement process?

Second Timothy 3:16 provides a great outline for growth:

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…”

  1. Teaching – Showing what is right.
  2. Rebuking – Surfacing what is wrong.
  3. Correcting – Showing how to get it right.
  4. Training in Righteousness – Making it a habit.

I used this process over and over with my players:

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

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

If we are to achieve the resolutions we hope for, we need to fully engage the learning process. We must think through:

  1. What is really right in this case?
  2. What am I doing wrong?
  3. How can I correct that?
  4. 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 let’s not forget that, according to 2 Timothy 3:16, God’s Word is our “coach” in this endeavor.

This helpful article can show you how to study the Bible in a way that this “coaching” process is maximized.

It’s not just for New Year’s either; this is a key way we grow as a person and as a follower of Christ.

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