Listen: Karl Faase chats to Katrina Roe on how to succeed with your New Year’s resolutions.
While some Christians avoid New Year’s resolutions, believing that they promote a quick-fix mindset, Karl Faase isn’t one of those people.
The pastor and Christian commentator from Olive Tree Media says he takes time every summer break to reflect and make goals for the year ahead. He believes the process can help us to make healthy changes in every area of our life.
But some resolutions are better than others, he says.
“I do them every year,” he told Hope 103.2’s Katrina Roe. “I think the beginning of the year is a great time to stop and reassess. But I think the trouble with New Years’ resolutions is that we treat them a bit glibly. We have a couple of ideas that we ‘might do some time in the future, maybe’. And that’s not particularly helpful. So we’ve got to find ways of doing them that actually helps us.”
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Tip 1 – Go Deeper Than Just Weight-Loss
Karl offered a few tips In order to make New Year’s goals and resolutions helpful. The first is to think about a range of areas of your life.
“If you’re somebody who follows Jesus, pray about it, across a number of areas,” he said. “Think through all the areas of your life; not just your weight and your fitness. They’re the most obvious things, but what about your relationships with other people? What about your family life? What about your intellectual life? Or even the spiritual part of who you are?
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“Think about setting goals in each of those areas, rather than just focussing on the obvious.”
Tip 2 – Make Your Goals & Resolutions Specific
Instead of just setting a vague, nebulous goal like “do better at work” or “get healthy”, make your resolutions specific and clear, says Karl.
“Let’s say you’re a mum [and you] want to be a better mother. The question is, at the end of the year if you ask yourself ‘Was I a better mother’, how will you know? So the thing to do is, consider what it would look like to be a better mother. Time with my children? Reading some books? Be really specific about what you mean. Ask yourself what do I think a better mum is?
“Maybe you want to be closer to God. Maybe you want a better relationship with your husband or wife. What does that mean? Make it specific, so you’re looking at the parts of a goal rather than just the idea.”
Tip 3 – Break Your Goal into Small, Achievable Segments
Write down a plan for achieving your goal that includes steps along the way. It’ll help you to actually see progress when you get to the end of the year.
“If I want to have a deeper spiritual life, that might mean spending some time on my own, reading the Bible,” said Karl. “It might be making sure I’m at worship. It might be making sure I’m connecting with other people who believe the same things that I do. Break it into small chunks.”
Tip 4 – Create a Progress Chart
If you want a visual tool to help you stay committed to your resolution or goal throughout the year, try creating a progress chart that you can place on your fridge, in your diary, or somewhere you look often.
“If you want to read 20 books this year, get a piece of paper and write numbers 1 to 20 and fill them in over the year,” suggests Karl.
Tip 5 – Have Monthly Check-Ups on your Goals
While New Year’s Resolutions are very motivating for a while, they won’t help if you only think about them for a week. That’s why Karl suggests a monthly or quarterly check-in, to see how you’re progressing.
“Check up on yourself,” he said. “If the next time you look at your goals is in December 2017, there’s a very good chance not much has happened. Write the goals or resolutions down, the things that you’d like to change, and put a reminder in your diary or smart phone once a month or once a quarter.
“Then read them through each month or quarter to see how you’re going.”