Happy New Year! Yes, it’s just another day on the calendar, but for many of us a new year represents a new start. Most of us welcome a new start in some area of our lives. Perhaps it is in our relationships, parenting, health goals, or career focus—wherever it is, a new year is as good a time as any to reflect, reorder, and energize ourselves for change.
HOWEVER… what we know is that only 9% of people who make resolutions keep them (read here). 23% quit by the first week, and 43% quit by the end of January. When we are so motivated and ready for change, what gives?
What I have come to realize is that when we make these resolutions—or perhaps you didn’t make resolutions but rather have habits you want to change or improve—we have to go deeper than the behavior. What we are seeking to do is change our identity. We are looking at part of our lives, at ourselves, and thinking we want to be something different. If that is the case, identity takes longer. As I have said before, we are now talking about a marathon, not a sprint. We need grace for setbacks with that kind of a timeline—grace that resolutions don’t usually provide.
If you are looking to make personal life changes, start with identity.
Ask the questions:
Who do I want to be?
How do I want to be known?
Who is God calling me to be?
What behaviors and actions will help create and validate this identity?
Perhaps instead of thinking about how much weight you want to lose, consider what would it look like to be a healthy person? Instead of thinking about less screen time, consider what would it look like to be a more present person. Then identify current behaviors taking you further from that identity before you replace ones that will move you closer to it.
Word for the Year
Interestingly enough, my poll on social media revealed that many of you no longer make resolutions. Perhaps we are older and wiser and don’t set ourselves up for failure. Instead, you are choosing a word for the year.
This is something I have done for a few years now after spending time in prayer and meditation, asking God what I should focus on this year. I have loved this practice, and it’s so amazing to me what words have stood out after doing it. This year my word is ALIGNED. What resonated with me is that I need my actions, decisions, and my spirit to be aligned with my values: my faith, my family, and my priorities.
If you have chosen a word, write it on a post-it note and stick it up on two places you see every day. If you commute or drive kids all day, put it in your car. Most of us can benefit with a note on our mirror in the mornings. The more we visually reinforce and remember, the more this also will become a part of our identity.
I will leave you with this thought from NYT Bestselling author of Atomic Habits, James Clear (a great book to read if you are trying to change habits):
“New goals don’t deliver new results. New lifestyles do. And a lifestyle is a process, not an outcome. For this reason, all of your energy should go into building better habits, not chasing better results.”
Sending you much love for this first week of 2024
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