A New Kind of Resolution
By Rachel Olsen, co-author of My One Word:
Change Your Life With One Word
I adore January. Never mind that I usually need to shed some holiday pounds or that I’m no fan of cold weather. The first few weeks of the new year feel pregnant with the possibility that this year I’ll become my best self. Americans love this fresh start feeling. Nearly two-thirds of us make New Year’s resolutions—and I’ve been one of the 90 million who do. What about you?
Any of these sound familiar:
• I’m going to get organized.
• I’m going to lose 10 lbs.
• I’m going to stop running late.
• I’m going to read my Bible early every morning.
• I’m going to be a better spouse … parent … Christian.
Research confirms what you and I have known: Before January ends most of us abandon our list of ways we intended to improve. That ball keeps dropping in New York’s Time’s Square each New Year’s. And we keep dropping the ball on our resolutions to change. That’s because change requires more than a clean calendar page. It takes more than positive feelings or wishful thinking. And transformation takes more than a couple weeks’ effort.
CHANGE IS POSSIBLE, BUT FOCUS IS REQUIRED.
The problem is our attention is divided. Our lives are fast-paced and demanding. Lots to change divided by busy days (multiplied by frequent frustration) equals little transformation. But there’s a solution equation. Clarity plus grace (multiplied by focus over time) equals transformation.
A Single-Word Focus
That’s why seven years ago I ditched New Year’s resolutions in favor of choosing one word to be my focus for the year. Just one word that represented what I most hoped God would do in and through me in the twelve months to come. I stayed focused on that one word for 365 days. I thought about it, talked about it, journaled with it, and prayed about it. I let it shape my choices and my schedule. And I saw change.
In looking through the lens of a single word, chosen in tandem with God, I found a new approach to personal change mainly because it supplies narrowed focus. In fact, the results each year have been greater and farther reaching than I expected. I want you to try it too. Let me be clear, this is not a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps and will yourself to be different” project. Such an approach rarely works for long. Change, heart-level change – spiritual formation – is an act of God. The human heart is meant to be conformed to His image. The power and provision of God will aid us in that transformation.
This single word will force clarity and concentrate your efforts. And as you focus on your word over an extended period of time, you position yourself for God to form your character at a deep level. Last year my one word was FIRST. It was anchored in the call to seek first God and his kingdom whenever I worried about how I was going to get what I needed or wanted. I encourage you to join the thousands around the nation already choosing their one words for 2015.