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Resolution to Discipline

Did you do any goal setting for 2010? 

I did, I made a resolution to get better at the guitar. 
Many people make these types of goals around December 31st, as they look back on the previous year and desire a change for themselves in the future.  So many people do this in fact that it has a very familiar term, ‘New Year’s Resolutions’.

The practice of goal setting is a very important one, as a quick study of successful businesses, organizations, and people will easily demonstrate.  Aim at nothing and you’ll hit it every time is a popular euphemism which speaks to the importance of thinking ahead and plotting a course.   

Unfortunately though, on average, New Year’s Resolutions end around February 14.


On average, New Year’s Resolutions end around February 14.

Why is this? 

If you’re thinking romantically, you might conclude that the love symbolized around Valentines day replaces the law of resolutions.  Love replacing the law.  Maybe this is a good thing, especially if you’re one who tends to make goals and then forget about them quickly.  Maybe though, this is just a powerfully convincing excuse to not follow through with our goals. 


There are a couple of other reasons that I can think of to answer why resolutions end so soon.  
The first is poor resolution setting, and the second is the most obvious, a lack of discipline.


Resolution or goal setting is a skill in itself and many people who set resolutions are not proficient in it. 
For example, if you did make a resolution, was it about something that you deeply care about or was it something that you passively wish was better?

The key word in the phrase New Years Resolution is resolution, which is from the root word resolve

To get a better understanding of this word, take a look at this visual thesaurus:




Resolving to do something requires firmness, a settling within us that this is the right decision and it must be carried out.  Does your resolution contain this much purpose and passion?  Is it something that you HAVE to change in your life?     

Was your resolution measurable, so that you can see marked progress as you go, or was it more like ‘I want to be nicer this year’?

I mentioned that my resolution was to get better at the guitar.  If that wasn’t something that I really cared about, something that I could visualize the benefits, something that I could be passionate about, then it is a poor resolution.  Likewise, if that was my entire goal, to ‘get better’ then it would be a poor resolution.   That is why I tacked on this phrase to the idea of getting better: “I resolve to get better at the guitar, learning all of the scales of the guitar and memorizing the fret board.” 


When we add a measurable element to our resolutions that much needed motivation is there for us when we feel like quitting.  Looking back we see how far we’ve come, the growth is tangible, and we find the strength to push through the difficult time.


The other reason that resolutions fail so quickly is a lack of discipline.

Even if we have well crafted resolutions that we are passionate about and that are measurable, a lack of discipline can ruin everything.  Here’s the bad news, discipline is something we can only attained through practice.  There is no switch or new bullet point that will give you discipline.  The good news is that practice is exactly what a resolution invites us to, so there is no better time to get practicing. 

When making your resolution for 2010 include the aspect of discipline.  What will you have to practice in order to achieve your resolution?  Name something practical, and something that you can realistically commit to.

For me it is actually sitting down and playing the guitar on a regular basis.  When I incorporate this into my resolution it reads like this:  “I resolve to get better at the guitar, learning all of the scales of the guitar and memorizing the fret board, by practicing for at least an hour 5 days per week.” 


Are you going to do what it takes to keep your resolution alive this year? 


Father, as we begin a new decade and look back on the past, we recognize our need to continually grow and change, to be brought from glory to glory.  You see beyond our present to our potential and are working to bring it out by the sanctifying work of Your Holy Spirit.  We offer you praise for the great things that are in store for us this year, and for the full life that is ours through Jesus Christ.  May we submit to Your work in our lives this year.  Amen.


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