I love New Years.
Not because of the wild celebrations, spectacular fireworks or the banging of pots and pans. As one who doesn’t drink alcohol and who prefers not to be around those who drink too much, our family usually skips out on the parties.
Instead, we prefer more of a quiet time of introspection which others would understandably find…well…boring. In fact, it’s a tradition of ours to watch the ball drop at Times Square live via satellite so we can celebrate the New Year arriving at 9 p.m. on the West Coast and preserve the option of going to bed early. Yes. I know. Thrilling.
No. The reason I love New Years is because I’m a goal junkie, list lover and all-around control freak.
I thrill at the opportunity to scrutinize the prior year in an effort to discern what’s working, what needs improvement and what should be shelved. I’m blissful in my planning laboratory full of spreadsheets, calendars, forecasts and metrics.
Unfortunately, and almost without fail, I burst out of the starting gate each year with the perfect plan, 100 percent guaranteed for success if not for the lack of one key ingredient: The input of God.
That’s why every year, it’s usually not long into the race when the horse of my great expectations either pulls up lame or throws me from the saddle.
So this time I’m starting with three incredibly painful steps in the formulation of my New Year’s resolution. I’ve never done this before and for such a self-absorbed, controlling person as myself, success will require a miracle and a whole lot of prayer.
I’m sharing this with you, my friends, in the hope that you’ll pray for me, provide accountability and perhaps find these radical guidelines helpful as you make your own resolutions this year. So here they are:
I’m Surrendering My Plan
In my entire life, I’ve never come up with a good plan entirely on my own. Either it falls apart, backfires or worse…brings me to my target destination only to find it disappointing and ultimately not fulfilling. I’ve learned the brutal way, if the plan doesn’t come from God, it’s a flawed blueprint. So I’m starting this year’s process by surrendering my plans and being open to to whatever He has in mind for me. Ouch. That hurts to even say it, let alone put down on digital paper. Please pray as I try to loosen the white knuckle grip of this steering wheel.
It Won’t Be About Me
New Year’s resolutions provide a powerful way for individuals to make changes in their lives. But the problem is they can often lead us to a path of self-centeredness. Instead of trying to answer the question, “What can I do to have a better life?” I’m going to replace it with, “What can I do to bless those around me?” For someone as selfish as I am, this is a grueling challenge.
It Will Be Re-Evaluated Every Day
One of the most difficult things for a hard charger like myself is to keep from putting on the blinders and blocking out everything around me until I hit the goal. People like me miss out so much in life because we put the goal ahead of everything else, including friends, family and even God. Sadly, driven individuals skip the intimacy of God’s daily instructions and in the end we run through yellow lights, miss audible calls and often end up with our wheels spinning in a ditch. This year, I’m committing to laying my plans at the Cross each and every day.
Having published these three guidelines I’m already feeling like a liar and a hypocrite. Because of flaws in my character and insufficiencies in both faith and discipline these seem to me like impossible tasks. I’ll be forced to rely on God.
Which, of course, is a great start to the New Year.
What about you? How are you approaching your New Year’s resolutions? I’d love to hear your ideas and goals for the upcoming year.
Looking for more Michael? You might also enjoy The Terrible Truth About Christians
Michael K. Reynolds is a writer with more than two decades of experience in crafting fiction, non-fiction, journalism, copywriting and documentary production. He is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant of Books & Such Literary Agency.
He is the author of a series of Irish historical novels published by B&H Publishing Group. These highly acclaimed books are available in bookstores and libraries across the nation and beyond.